The annual midwinter getaway sponsored by the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute
and the National
Cleaners Association, known as Brainstorming with the Five Stars, proved to be
timely this year.
While much of the nation was frozen solid in an Arctic blast, the 100-and-some
who headed to St. Maarten for the Jan. 17-20 conference enjoyed warm sunshine
beaches mixed with friendly networking and insightful speakers.
It was the eighth gathering in what has become an annual event that began in
Puerto Rico in 2012
when the two associations first combined what had been separate winter
conferences — NCA with its
Brainstorming event and DLI with its Five Stars conference.
The social aspect of the winter conference got underway with a cocktail
reception on Thursday
evening at the Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, a boutique, all-inclusive resort
where all rooms have an
The business portion of the program opened on Friday morning, the first of three
where speakers imparted their specialized knowledge with Saturday and Sunday
following before attendees had to return to the twin realities of business as
usual and life in a wintry
Speakers included Jeff Tippett, on persuasive communications, John DiJulius on
and Arthur Greeno, who explained the secret to Chick fil-A’s success in building a business based
largely on minimum wage workers.
DiJulius spoke about a customer service revolution and the need to become a
brand that customers
can’t live without.
“You are in the customer perception business,” he said. “Do not ask customers what they want. Give
them something they can’t live without.”
He recalled the words of Henry Ford who said, “If I had asked people what they want, they would
have said faster horses.”