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All About ‘The Experience’

Hangin’ with fabricare in the Caribbean at Five-Star

CHICAGO — Carpe momento! It means seize the moment ... and give your customer the experience of a lifetime.

That very idea seemed to be the theme for fun and reconnecting at this fabricare getaway on a sun-kissed island in the Caribbean.

“It’s your job to be ‘unbelievable’ and inspire your team,” speaker John DiJulius told about 100 fabricare attendees at the recent Brainstorming With The 5 Stars Conference, co-hosted by the National Cleaners Association and the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute at the boutique Sonesta Resort on St. Maarten.

Turquoise and lapis-lazuli gulf stream waters and blue skies greeted attendees every morning as they made the short walk from the resort to the ballroom to hear speakers.

DiJulius predicted a “roller-coaster ride for business in 2019,” and insisted that training and hiring will both be critical to having world-class service.

He walked among the group telling an attentive fabricare audience that, “You are in the customer perception business. Teach your employees to understand customers.”

Describing the market today, he suddenly exhorts: “Millennials crush it!” Attendees are fully engaged; everyone is smiling and laughing.

“The currency of millennials is ‘purpose.’ They are not buying big items,” he says. “They are out for the experience, like travel.”

DiJulius says, “Don’t compete in price wars, compete in experience,” and in particular, something he terms the “micro-experience,” which can be rapport, recognition, and the tiny personal nuances of relationships.

Other speakers included Jeff Tippett on tapping into your own “super-power” to help others around you win. Arthur Greeno, owner of Chik-Fil-A asked attendees on the last morning, “Do you have raving fans?” (Supporters of your brand who rave about your business?)

Greeno says: Give your employees the tools to serve customers, in whatever way that looks like. It can be simple, like balloons, freebies, and just the positive language your team uses, but always have what he calls a My Pleasure attitude of making sure your employees are of the mindset to be happy to help their guests.

Al Plantenga, co-owner with his aunt LeAnn Glasser, of Plantenga’s Cleaners, in Spring Lake, Mich., here with his wife Kim, enjoyed the “practical tips” from DiJulius and his “energizing talk.”

Other attendees mentioned the phrases: “insightful” and “getting back to the personal side of life.”

Owners Gary and Carol Greenholt of Palms Drycleaners in Hanover, Pa., first-timers to this conference, seemed to enjoy the soothing ocean setting, the sharing of industry ideas, and the variety of speakers.

DiJulius concluded with: “You are how you treat each other.” And added, “Think ‘U R X,’ meaning U R the Experience.”

There was no doubt that this 2019 Brainstorming conference was for sure the experience!