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Hire and Higher (Conclusion)

Have an all-in-it-together attitude

CHICAGO — We all think we’re the best. We’re competitive. We shoot for the moon. We aim high and, heck, when we see the other person aiming high too, we aim even higher than high!

Here’s a for instance: American Airlines’ in-flight safety video is memorable. Ever seen it? It’s clever, upbeat, and concludes with, “We hope you have a great flight because Great is what we’re going for!”

Let’s morph that theme right on over to the hiring of great employees for your garment care business.

Do you ever think about improving your hiring practices at your drycleaning operation? What level do you consider your hiring to be at? Is it ... great? And is Great what you’re going for, too?

Here are two drycleaning operators to share with you, in their own words, their own separate views about how they handle hiring. It’s probably the single-most talked-about topic in the drycleaning industry today with owners, and surely a high-higher-highest priority on any owner’s must-do list.

We have a “go” for Great. Let’s go...

Amber Kraemer, office manager at Jones Cleaning Center in Fresno, California, and Joe Ziccarelli, owner of Owl Cleaners in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, will weigh in with their own views and experiences on best hiring practices.


“My father, a World War II veteran, started our business in 1952. He passed away while I was in college and I returned after graduation and then had a stint in the Signal Corps as an Army officer.” He returned in 1993.

The “he” is Joe Ziccarelli. “I am the owner of Owl Cleaners in Warrendale, Pennsylvania,” he notes, adding that he and his sister jointly ran the business for a few years.

“I took over as sole owner in 2001. We have a little under 50 employees and seven retail locations along with home delivery and CRDN fire restoration.

“As one of the most labor-intensive business types out there, it’s imperative to get good people that do well-above-average work. We have always been priced well above the average and it’s necessary to give the customers the value in the product.

“Teamwork between the workers is so necessary, as we often have to fill different jobs to get the job done.”

Ziccarelli says: “It’s important to get hires that fit into the company culture. Good people can be trained but some, even if they are already proficient, can just bring down the rest of the group.

“Hiring is so difficult in our suburban area outside of Pittsburgh. There is not any public transportation, which has led us to have to offer premium pay and also enticements for referral bonuses of $1,500 paid over a year,” he points out.

Ziccarelli shares this concluding tip with other drycleaning owners: “A daily huddle that gets dialogue going between the entire crew allows one to become more cohesive as a group and fosters the all-in-it-together attitude that we all need.”

To recap their hiring tips: Look for desire! Look for that we’re in it together attitude! Probably, you already seek out those qualities. They are two similar themes that really mean the same thing: When you go to hire, aim higher!

So... are you going for Great yet? They did.

To read Part 1, go HERE.