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71st Annual New England Sanitone Licensee Meeting in Boston, MA

The past, present, and future were on display at the 71st Annual New England Sanitone Licensee Meeting in Boston. With the familiar background of the wonderful Four Seasons Hotel, some of the best cleaners and industry suppliers came together January 28th-30th to learn, share, and catch up on the past year of business.

The seminar kicked off with a Fabritec State of the Union address from President John Jordan. In his presentation, he shared details about the current solvent usage of the industry and highlighted advances in both products and procedures that will keep Sanitone licensees ahead of the curve for environmental regulations and the new Global Harmonized System of classification and labeling hazardous products. Continuing his message of looking to the future, John shared plans for new training videos and social media ad support for Sanitone licensees.

Next, John introduced his son, Jeff Jordan, who is celebrating his first anniversary with the company. Jeff brought his years of experience as a bank call center manager in his talk “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em,” an employee engagement retention strategy designed to decrease turnover. Focused on what employees want to get out of their work, the presentation emphasized a modern approach to relating to your employees and how important the role of a good manager is.

After the break, two guests and first-time seminar speakers took the podium. Mallory Bartell of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company spoke about the hydrocarbon solvent, Ecosolve, and gave an interesting overview of the history of drycleaning. An engaging question and answer session followed where a number a good questions were asked and a discussion about popular solvents took place. Daniel Guglielmo followed with his presentation “Wolves Change Rivers,” an examination of how to create and execute a succession plan for your business. Dan focused on creating a generative culture that is naturally inclined to succeed.

Following lunch, Norman Way enlightened us on the success of Puritan Cleaners through their quality program titled “Q3P: People, Product & Presentation.” Puritan’s focus on a simple core mission has allowed them to excel in their market and build a brand that consumers can trust. Norman highlighted their various charitable efforts and how the community embraced a spirit of helping and giving back. Also on display was Puritan’s refreshing take on marketing; an amusing video for “Free Pants Wednesday,” a must-see on their website.

Paul White of Roth Cleaners energized the room with his presentation, “Differentiation – Success at the Highest Level.” Donning a flannel Snuggie and a booming voice, Paul demonstrated how a drycleaner can differentiate themselves by creating a memorable experience for their customers. A key take-away from his speech was that drycleaners are not only competing with other drycleaners, they are competing with every other experience a consumer has had in the last three to five days.

To close out the meeting, Rob Morin, a.k.a. "The Sanitone Kid," took a captivated audience through tales of meetings past, the generations of cleaners in the room, his travels with his wife Joyce across the world’s oceans, and finished with an inspiring message about survivors. From touching words of advice to irreverent humor, Rob drew laughter and a few tears from the crowd of sixty-plus attendees. His speech came full circle when he shared some interesting statistics: 40% of family-owned business turn into second-generation business, approximately 13% are passed down to a third generation, and 3% make it to a fourth or beyond. Rob bestowed the title of “Survivors” to the members of the audience for beating the odds and remaining strong family-owned businesses.

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