GREENBELT, Md. — ZIPS Dry Cleaners announced the retirement of CEO Reid Bechtle on Nov. 30. The company’s Board of Directors elected Andrew Ritger, Jr. (“Drew”) as the company’s new CEO as of Dec. 1.
Commenting on his retirement, Bechtle says, “I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated my time as the steward of the company brand. The company is larger, stronger, and more sustainable than it was five years ago when I first arrived.
“I believe now is the time for a new leader to further refine the ZIPS way and make it the national brand that I know it can be. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead during this phase of its maturity.”
Bechtle served as CEO since April 2013, when he was brought on to move the company through its next phase of growth.
“My fondest memory,” he relates, “was meeting the home office staff for the first time, a group of young, smart and dedicated individuals. These were people with tremendous potential that have since proven that with a bit of leadership, motivation and confidence in oneself incredible things can be accomplished both personally and professionally.”
He notes that he is proud of every one of them and feels, “truly privileged to have worked with them for the past 5 years.”
Under Bechtle’s leadership, the firm has grown from 36 to 52 locations across the country, and today has a total active franchise pipeline that stands at more than 250 stores, the company notes.
“We are grateful for the accomplishments and results that ZIPS has achieved under Reid’s leadership,” says Jim Bolduc, senior managing director for JPB Capital Partners, the majority owner of ZIPS. “We wish him well in his retirement and the next phases of his life. He has put a solid foundation in place on which to build the next level of success.”
Incoming CEO Ritger takes over after spending nearly 22 years with Sonic Corporation. In his most recent role as the senior vice president for development, he led Sonic in adding over 1,850 new stores, increasing revenue by 95%, and improving operational performance by focusing on key customer performance measures, the company relates.
Ritger notes: “I was excited and intrigued by the ZIPS story from the moment I was introduced to the company. As I learned more, that excitement grew.”
“Drew is a proven leader in the franchise world,” says Bolduc. “His experience and expertise in opening stores, leading operations, growing profits and revenue, and forming strong, long-term employee, franchisee, vendor, and community relationships will be a tremendous asset.”
Begun in 1996 with eight dry cleaners in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, the firm is described as an expanding dry cleaning franchise known for its same-day, one-price model.
About retirement, Bechtle says: “This will be my third attempt at retirement, the first being 18 years ago. My wife of 43 years suggests I will never retire and I suspect she is probably right to some degree.
“I will most likely return to my consulting practice on a limited basis and focus on the wide range of interests I have that run the gambit from bourbon to being a Master KCBS BBQ judge, with a bit of shooting, fishing, travel and a few cigars in between.”