National Clothesline
National Clothesline
New peer group holds first meeting in KC

In an attempt to help offer drycleaners across the U.S. and Canada an effective method to improve their business operations, Methods for Management and the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute recently combined resources to create a joint peer group.
The inaugural meeting took place in Kansas City from Oct. 1 to 2 when Owners Larry Ross and Dale Berlau invited the group to tour their Tower Dry Cleaners and Laundry plant.
Diana Vollmer, managing director for MfM, lead the group through a plant critique and assigned each attendee with a different part of the business to analyze in terms of overall efficiency and quality.
“We felt the meeting was very informative,” Ross and Berlau noted afterward. “The group seemed to fit well and was very willing to share information, both good and bad. We are busy implementing many of their suggestions.”
The management bureau is in growth mode and searching for non-competing cleaners to join.
To date, other attendees include: Russ Baich and Shanna Soehn of Classic Cleaners in Red Deer, AB; Morgan McGhie of David’s Drycleaners in Savannah, GA; Nimesh Vakharia of Great American Cleaners in El Cerrito, CA; Don Saccol of Monarch Cleaners in Altoona, PA; Neal Thuente of Victoria Cleaners in Des Moines, IA; and Jeff Rehre of VIP Cleaners in St. Louis, MO.
The response to the initial installment was quite positive.
“I enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing ideas and information. It is good to talk to other drycleaners about things that happen in the industry and try to find a solution,” noted Don Saccol.
In addition to the plant tour and critique, members took a field trip to Halls Department Store at the Country Club Plaza for insight into how progressive drycleaners partner with specialty garment retailers.
DLI participants were also introduced to MfM financial reports which include benchmark and average figures that help members increase their sales and profits.
Economist and KSU adjunct professor Tom Pisani was called in to offer an analysis of the current market and a forecast for 2014.
Then, to round out the experience, the group presented its “Best Ideas” where every attendee shared things like favorite marketing pieces and innovative and successful changes that have boosted their business over the last quarter.
“Attending the DLI/MfM Bureau Meeting gave me much needed insight into my personal drycleaning business and the drycleaning industry as a whole,” said Morgan McGhie. “I walked away with a new sense of focus and thought process of how to approach and improve our operations. I have already implemented a few changes with great results. We are looking forward to the next meeting.”
That next meeting will be at Great American Cleaners in El Cerrito, CA, from Jan. 6 to 7.
Other upcoming dates and locations include: April 10-11 at VIP Cleaners in St. Louis, MO; July 10 to 11 at Classic Cleaners in Red Deer, AB; and the final meeting will be from Oct. 9 to 10 at Victoria Cleaners located in Des Moines, IA.
For more information, call Diana Vollmer, (253) 851-6327.