Looking Back Over 20 Years And More…
Being asked to provide a snapshot of my GreenEarth dry cleaning story , it seemed appropriate to start near the beginning of this journey that led to my current position as Business Development Manager at GreenEarth Cleaning and an owner of the GreenEarth Cleaners in Castle Pines, Colorado.
As I look back for dry cleaning clues, one of my first high school jobs was marking-in clothes at the Cranford Cleaners, in NJ.
That first “smell” of dry cleaning still remains fresh in my mind after all these years.
I enrolled at the University of Delaware ( home of The Fighting Blue Hens, two other Joes… Denver’s newest quarterback Flacco and a potential Presidential candidate Biden ).
My aspiration was to become a German speaking chemical engineer, however when I eventually graduated, I had drifted far away from engineering and found myself employed as a group therapist for delinquent boys at a large private school outside Philadelphia and now married with a very young son.
An opportunity appeared to start and take residence in a halfway house program for the State of Delaware Department of Juvenile Corrections.
It would have appeared at this juncture that social work was the calling for my future but the halfway house eventually proved to be a poor choice for raising a family so it became clear that
it was time to move on.
Ignoring all advice to the contrary, it appeared to be the opportune time to pack up and leave the familiar east coast and head west to the vision of sunnier skies in Colorado.
I thought that I had a job waiting in Colorado juvenile corrections, only to discover upon arrival that their Governor had declared a hiring freeze for that position.
With no other obvious choice and without the job search tools available today, I started knocking on doors in an industrial area and the doorway to dry cleaning opened at a business where the owner said he had always wanted to hire a college graduate and I fit the bill.
The business was selling and building Westinghouse coin laundries ( the Laundromat ) which included coin operated Valclene dry cleaning machines. That once promising Dow Chemical Freon 113 solvent that is now a distant memory in this industry.
Time for that first toolbox and a pickup truck, installing equipment, rebuilding Vic Model 141 Valclene machines and out on service calls.
The owner after a few years had to retire because of illness and suggested that I go out on my own servicing his customers and others.
Hence my first business, Greased Lightning Services, which introduced me to many dry cleaning and laundry operators, fostered a move up to a ranch in the Colorado mountains and a stint as the manager of the Town Tub in Vail with President Gerald Ford, then a local resident, as a customer with the Secret Service efficiently handling the pickup and delivery of his garments.
Then came the time to head back to Denver, becoming involved in businesses selling laundry and dry cleaning equipment, designing and building dry cleaning plants across the west, employment as a dry cleaning sales specialist for a large supply distribution company and eventually, ten years ago in New Orleans, being gifted the chance to join GreenEarth Cleaning
as a Field Representative.
GreenEarth Cleaning felt then, as it does now, to be the perfect combination of all the positive aspects of this business that I have come to love and treasure and it certainly continues to improve the fabric of my life.
Looking back, it might be that finding a good home here at GreenEarth Cleaning can simply be distilled down to a well-integrated and lucky mixture of group therapy and chemistry
Happily, now it is time to look forward to New Orleans for the upcoming Clean Show 2019.
Where, when someone shouts “Laissez les bon temps rouler! “ ( let the good times roll ) the correct response, I am told is “ Oui, cher “ ( you’re right, sweetheart ) and I have to agree.
Hope to see you all there!
By: Joe Blaha