New York, N.Y. — More than 40 operators from the U.S. and Central America joined last month in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for the fifth annual “Brainstorming with The Best” conference, sponsored by the National Cleaners Association (NCA).
Speakers on this year’s seminar schedule included Jeff Hargett, of the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center; David Merrman, best-selling author and viral-marketing expert; and Scott and Joe Hallak, operators of Hallak Cleaners in New York, N.Y.
“We make sure attendees are exposed to a wealth of out-of-the-box ideas that will help them increase existing customer spending and grow their profits without spending a lot in marketing dollars,” says NCA executive director Nora Nealis.
“Many [presenters] come from other industries and discuss operations and service techniques that are applicable to drycleaners in general terms,” says Jim Fenyohazi, operator of Fabric Renewal in Bloomingdale, N.J. “This brings a unique element that helps you run your business at a higher level. If you don’t get anything out of this conference, it’s because you’re not listening.”
Operators traveled from the U.S., Canada and Central America to take part in the educational program, the association says. Attendees stayed at the Grand Velas resort and took advantage of sightseeing and networking opportunities in the off hours.
“The conference is worth its weight in gold if you walk away with just one new idea and implement it,” says Paul Bagley, operator of Ship Shape Cleaners in Connecticut. “But the part I love most is that you always meet great people from all over the world and get to see many old friends.”
Next year’s “Brainstorming” conference is scheduled for Jan. 15-18, 2009 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. For more information on the 2009 conference or to recommend a speaker or venue for future “Brainstorming” events, contact event coordinator Ann Hargrove at 800-888-1622.
“'Brainstorming’ has become a calling-card event for us,” Hargrove says. “It personifies what we’re about and what makes us different, so cleaners can count on us to continue the tradition for a very long time.”