Beyond The Bubbles (Conclusion)


(Photo: Matthew Fassnacht/Unsplash)


Richard Atack, vice president and general manager, Barry-Regent Cleaners, Chicago, poses with his daughter while on vacation in Sedona, Ariz. (Photo: Richard Atack)

Tim Burke |

The words to help you plan your next getaway: Trust your team, trust yourself

CHICAGO — See that bubble?

Don’t worry. It won’t burst. It’s the sign of peaceful relaxation and fun in the sun. Ahhhh, Vacayyy!

See the smile reflected back?

Those are the grins that come from knowing the managers and team back at the store can run the drycleaning operation smoothly while you are relaxing and recharging. Mmmm, Vacayyy!

Three drycleaning operators share their getaway experiences of leaving their plants behind to get some needed vacation. How do they do it with a worry-free “bon-voyage” and a knowing grin? Let’s find out.

In Part 1, we heard from Joe in Michigan and Brad in Washington state, but now we will hear from Richard in Illinois, as he shares the key factors to a worry-free vacation: trust your team and let go. He’ll explain ...

“Richard Atack here, vice president and general manager, Barry-Regent Cleaners in Chicago. This is a family dry cleaner, founded in 1950. We focus on offering superior quality cleaning and customer service to our diverse client base in our Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods and beyond. I just celebrated 25 years with the company.”

He points out that: “I think it is extremely important for owners and managers, and indeed all employees, to get away from the business. It enables you to decompress and relax, but it also helps refocus the mind on what is important, both personally and professionally.

“As a manager, it is easy to fall into a routine of running the business. Having to plan for being away forces you to consider the work that you do, and how you delegate it. And then being away removes the day-to-day stresses that clutter the mind, and allows you to look at the bigger picture and make longer term plans.”

As a husband and father, Atack says that getting away is all about spending quality time with his family. “I am originally from the UK, so we try to visit family in England, and then travel somewhere else in Europe in the summer.

“Recently, we rented a beautiful Airbnb house in the hills above Florence, Italy. This summer, we are planning a week exploring Iceland. We’ve also done a couple of road trips out west to New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.”

He says that during spring break, he tries to pick a great city to visit. These have included San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin and New York. “It’s hard to beat Chicago, though. Allowing my children to experience other cultures and discovering new places with them is the ultimate reward.”

Atack admits that, “I can only get away, and honestly forget about the business, for a few days. I have faith in my management team. Any business must be able to operate without key personnel in an emergency, so everyone knows how to step in and get the job done.”

Technology, he points out, also makes it much easier to be away from the plant. He can schedule bill payments in advance, and can log in from anywhere to check on things if absolutely necessary.

“As for an anecdote,” he thinks outoud, “of something that happened at work while I was on vacation, my answer is that I don't want to know what happens at work while I’m away!

“It’s easy enough to tell when I get back if things went well and if everyone did their job. Thankfully, that has always been the case so far.”

If you don’t yet feel confident going, let their words help you plan your next getaway. Trust in your strong team, but mostly trust in yourself. Start now. Summer’s here. Get beyond the bubbles!

To read Part 1, go HERE.

About the author

Tim Burke

American Drycleaner


Tim Burke is the editor of American Drycleaner. He can be reached at 312-361-1684 or [email protected]


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