National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Editorials
Got a minute?
These days, people want and expect more and they want and expect it as quickly as possible, if not faster. To say we live in a fast-paced world is an incredible understatement.
An average computer can easily execute 100 million instructions per second, or about six billion per minute. Every 60 seconds, over 570 new web sites are created, Apple receives about 47,000 app downloads and Twitter users send out over 100,000 tweets. Also every minute, there are over two million search queries on Google, Facebook users share over 684,000 pieces of content, email users send over 204 million messages and consumers spend over $272,000 via online shopping.
Things just don’t move fast on the Internet, either. Sixty seconds makes a difference in the tangible world, too. Each minute, Americans collectively eat 21,000 pieces of pizza, much to the profitable delight of pizzeria owners everywhere. Of course, such a meal might catch up to you. Fortunately, you have workout options for 60-second abs to get you back in shape. Really, you don’t have to wait long for anything anymore. You can enjoy pain relief, quick-drying nail polish, spray-on tans and meals of rice and eggs in half the time that many dentists typically recommend you spend brushing your teeth (two minutes) after meals.
We are also told that if you don’t make a good impression in the first 60 seconds during a job interview, then you won’t be coming back for a second one. The same could be true of drycleaning customers. When their cleaned garments are returned to them, it’s that first cursory glance that will often decide whether or not they are impressed with the quality and happy enough to remain loyal.
This month, Don Desrosiers offers an easy way to improve the overall presentation of your finished garments that takes less than 60 seconds to implement. He notes that even a well-pressed shirt devoid of flaws can give customers an underwhelming feeling if it is not presented to them in a manner that proudly and properly accentuates the final product. The column is here if you are interested, and, the best part is, it will only take a minute of your time.
Leaving some big shoes to fill
While closing the book on 2012, we were struck by the unusually large number of key industry people who passed away during the year, people who for years were mainstays of the industry and whose departures leave us wondering who, if anyone, can fill their shoes. So it’s appropriate to pause for one final tribute to some of those whose deaths we sadly reported during the year.
The first sad news of the year was the death of Jerry Lieberman, whose career of selfless service to the industry as an allied tradesman followed service to his adopted country during World War II. He escaped Nazi persecution in Germany only to return to Europe as a U.S. soldier applying his language skills as an interpreter and interrogator. After the war, he began a long career as the “Button Man,” a nickname that fell far short of describing the goods he provided to cleaners, not only in parts and equipment but as a friend and advisor who always had the interest of the cleaner first and foremost in his heart.
Another sad loss was Ray Colucci, who capped a career as a drycleaner and allied tradesman with a “retirement” that included writing monthly columns for National Clothesline and serving as an adviser to any cleaner who called upon his expertise. He never forgot the way things were “back in the day” and loved to tell the stories, but he also never lost his enthusiasm for the present and future of drycleaning, always looking for ways to improve the drycleaning business.
We also were also saddened to report the death of Sto Fox, another man who spent his life in the industry, not only as a drycleaner but as a trade association leader. As executive director of the North Carolina Association of Launderers and Cleaners, he made sure there was never a dull moment or even a lull in the conversation whenever cleaners gathered. His many friends constituted an extended family, many of whom regarded him as a father figure, mentor and confidante.
This issue brings the news of the death of Bill Steiner, who started Steiner-Atlantic in 1959 and for over 50 years helped to bring innovative concepts into the industry during a time when environmental concerns demanded that cleaners re-equip themselves for the 21st century.
Unfortunately, that’s just a sampling of the people we lost last year. Add to the list Tom Gosselin, Frank Filling, Bill Sessoms and Jim Patrie, all who, despite the demands of running successful businesses, found time to serve the industry through its trade associations, giving many hours of their precious free time to create a better industry.
The industry needs people who look beyond the four walls of their own businesses to try to make things better for all. In the end, it’s not what you do for yourself but what you do for others that matters. All of these men led by example in that regard. It’s up to us who remain to honor them by following their examples.

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