Steve Stevenson

President's Message

by George (Steve) Stevenson
Let’s Take a Page from the Greatest Generation

If I referenced a time when there was a shortage of labor and supplies, as well as rapid inflation — you would think I was talking about this past year. But, this has happened before to what we refer to as the Greatest Generation — the post-World War II crowd. Drycleaners were no exception.

I remember my father’s stories of having to use cardboard hangers and paper garment bags. So, what’s the point, you ask? The point is that these drycleaners perservered. They overcame these harships and we can overcome our own hardships by modifying/controlling personal behavior with the following characteristics:

1. Personal Responsibility. There is no time for self pity. Stay focussed and meet each crisis head on. Find that inner self-confidence to fight through the aggravation and disappointment. To use a borrowed mantra, “Clear eyes, full hearts... can’t lose.”

2. Integrity. Be up front, honest and rational with your customers and they will respect and admire you. Avoid slick sales tactics.

3. Humility. As the song lyrics go: “Always stay humble and kind.” Hold yourself to a higher standard of dignity and modesty.

4. Work Ethic. Given the labor challenges we face today and likely going forward, you have to be your best employee. This may often mean overcoming fatigue and burnout.

5. Prudent Saving. The adage “you have to spend money to make money” has great limitations. While prudent investments may lead to a good return, prudent savings will always be in the black. One of my father’s favorite sayings was “You can’t make money any faster than saving it.”

6. Faithful Commitment. You have to be all in at a time like this. Loyalty to the business and whatever staff you have is a must.

Mark Pollock

District Director's Message

by Mark Pollock

What a roller coaster ride we’ve been on for the last 18 months! In spring of 2020, COVID-19 hit and businesses went into the toilet. We had to either lay off most of our employees or cut their hours to the barest of minimums. It took all of our abilities to survive such difficult times. Now, here we are in late 2021. Revenues are coming back to near-2019 levels.

So, what’s our situation now? Many of those same employees have decided to go elsewhere to work, or are just sitting at home. Replacements are almost non-existent. Supply chain issues have made the price of hangers and other necessities outrageously expensive. And, that’s if you can even find them! So, what do you do? Where can you go for helpful advice and information to cope with this craziness? Well, I’d like to offer a suggestion.

PDCA, NEFA and SEFA have pooled their resources together to present WinterFest EXPO Jan. 19-21, 2022. This event is virtual, so you can watch it from your home or office without any traveling. Topics range from an economist’s view of current and future trends to finding new employees in today’s environment to successful marketing strategies and plenty more. The per-plant early bird registration fee of only $199/member plant is for everyone in your company to participate in any program of the event. If there’s one thing that we have learned from the recent past, it’s that it is almost impossible to survive in business today without the help and wisdom of others. Join your industry brethren at WinterFest EXPO 2022. I believe that you will find it well worth your time and money. Feel free to contact me at mark@signaturecleaners.
As always, please feel free to contact me at 267-701-6045. Here’s to better days ahead!

Mark Pollock

Tech Talk

How to Clean Cloth Face Masks

Face masks may be with us for some time. This is a great service you can offer your customers. The most important concern is making sure the masks are disinfected and ready to wear when you return them. Disinfecting is different from sanitizing. Disinfecting kills microscopic organisms (germs, viruses, fungi).
Disinfection is usually achieved by using EPA approved chemicals that kill the organisms and prevent them from spreading. Sanitizing reduces, not kills, the number and growth of bacteria, viruses and germs.
For face masks, we think it is important that you take every step to ensure they are virus and bacteria free.
1. Place the face mask from each customer or household in a net bag ans secure the bag closed. Then mark the bag to identify the customer. The new bag will help prevent the face masks from entangling. It is important that you leave ample room in the bag so the face masks get the necessary mechanical action during laundering.
For a small net bag such as the size used for lingerie, usually 20-25 masks will fit well. You can adjust the number based on the size of the bag. The key is to provide enough space for the mask to move around in the bag without tangling. You might want to consider giving your customer a net bag they can use at home to store their face masks until they bring them to you.
2. There are a couple of ways to ensure disinfection during laundering. We suggest using an EPA-approved chemical that would be safe on most colored fabrics. The reusable facemasks from the general public can be made from dyed or printed fabrics, Also, some of these masks may contain spandex fibers. In these instances, chlorine-based bleach would not be appropriate, A color-safe bleach, peroxyacetic acid or hydrogen peroxide, a citric acid product or quatemary ammonium like Lysol would work best.
Since these masks may contain cotton, you want to minimize shrinkage. So, while hot water (160F) is best, with the appropriate chemicals, water temperature can be reduced. 3. After tumble drying, medium setting, the masks can be re- moved from the bag, Discard any inserts, and press. 4. Return the disinfected, pressed masks to your customer.
Reprinted with permission of DLI