Cancun Can-Can


Every night was a different party theme, like Mexican Night shown here. By day the Secrets Cancun resort, site of the Brainstorming and Five Star Conference, co-hosted by NCA and DLI, was all business (and sunshine), but at night it transformed into joyous music, dancing, colored lights, tasty food, and laughter! (Photos: Tim Burke)


Speaker Deena Ebbert has some fun with Tim Burke at the conclusion of her energetic, fish-throwing, talk with attendees on the first morning of the Brainstorming and Five Star in Cancun, Mexico, held in mid-January.


Guests and attendees at the Secrets resort in Cancun couldn't help stopping by to feed the little turtles in the lobby's turtle pond. The locale, like the Five-Star conference, was, well, turtle-tastic!

Tim Burke |

Five-Star 2018 Conference Wrap-up

CHICAGO — Cancun fun, call it the Cancun Can-Can, at Secrets Capri Riviera resort, went on every night.

The National Cleaners Association (NCA) and Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI) co-hosted the Brainstorming and Five Star Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Jan. 11-14, 2018.

Attendees enjoyed a fiesta of lights playing on palm trees accompanied by music and singing — and plenty of dancing and laughter filling up the warm tropical evenings.

Organizers set out to create a relaxing “getaway” setting for social networking for a hundred or so fabricare industry professionals.

Mission achieved.

Also on the agenda were three motivational speakers, one each morning, to give attendees in this tropical mindset, some management ideas they could take back home with them — stuffed in their suitcases full of memories from this classy, clean-as-a-whistle boutique resort set on the edge of the white sand beaches and the azure blue of the Gulf Of Mexico.

“Start everything with attitude,” speaker Deena Ebbert aka the “propeller girl” (because she’s always moving) told attendees the first morning. Her energy was infectious.

She had attendees write descriptions of their “attitudes” on stickers and attach them to various parts of their body. (Chest, wrist, arm.)

Audience members got interactive quickly and played along. Some of the attitudes being shown-off included “Chill,” “Curious,” and one person even had “New Jersey.”

Ebbert threw stuffed fish into the crowd to exemplify the Pike Place Fish Company in Seattle, which stands out from the crowd, she noted, by having fun, throwing real fish, and engaging people who come to watch.

Having fun serving the customers was the point. A great attitude was the key. Attendees laughed and learned a lesson about how vital fun really is.

“Loved her,” one drycleaning owner shared. “Now how do I get my own employees having that much fun? I’m going back to ask them, we’ll do it together.”

The second day speaker, Joseph Grenny, talked about critical conversations and about being candid and respectful and noted: “If you don’t talk it out, you will act it out.”

Many nodded their heads in agreeance and came out saying they liked his messages of: safety to speak up, truth, and coming from love.

On the final morning, speaker Brian Rashid asked the fabricare audience how many used digital marketing? All hands went up. Then he asked how many were reaching people through Facebook and Instagram? Most hands went down.

“Old school is just getting clicks,” he said, “new school is highly-focused marketing, making contacts through Facebook and making deals with ‘influencers’ to reach people with relevance to your business.”

Lots of pens writing notes. Show organizers nodded in approval. A third day of great information for attendees.

“Your Facebook post doesn’t have to be fancy, just connect locally.”

Several attendees said the resort was “more personal feeling” with nice little subtle touches, from hand-drawn designs in the sand, to turning down the beds and adding cute messages in flower blossoms. Attendees could often be seen smiling, sharing stories with friends, and having a great time.

Like Ebbert indicated, they were “throwing fish” ...having fun!

Oh yeah, and the large turtle grotto in the lobby, holding dozens of small turtles, had everyone acting like a kid again, trying to feed them.

For fabricare industry attendees, the 2018 Can-Can in Cancun was a turtle-loving hit!  

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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