In The Bag January 2018

WICHITA’S HANGER

Life Is Not What Happens to You, It’s How You React How I Found My Way to the Laundry Business -Dave Coyle, Team Leader and Owner

Jan. 2018

I got my first taste of the dry-cleaning business in a college fraternity house. As you probably know, most college kids are very messy, but I was concerned with ensuring that my fraternity brothers looked their best. Everyone wore dress shirts, and since most of my brothers were short on time, I would gather up everyone’s shirts and take them to our local dry cleaners. On the way back, I’d add a 10 percent service fee to the overall cost. Fast-forward several years. I had a daughter, Brie, and was working 60 hours a week at a dry-cleaning business to make ends meet. Then, one day, my daughter’s mother told me she was leaving. She was moving to Pennsylvania, and she said, “I’ve decided to leave Brie with you.” She gave me all of Brie’s belongings, and she was gone. I was 23, and at that moment, I thought it was the end of the world. What was I to do? Life isn’t about what happens to us, but about how we react. From that experience, I was able to gain the perspective that great things come from the calm right after the storm. It’s kind of like taking off in an airplane. You lift off, then suddenly, you’re in the clouds and everything is blurry until you emerge in the sunshine. While caring for my baby daughter was terrifying at the time, in retrospect, it was one of the best things that could’ve ever happened to both of us. I needed to take responsibility and figure out how to care for my daughter. I

worked diligently to learn everything I could about the dry-cleaning industry.

Last month, we had our work Christmas party, complete with a live reindeer, Christmas music, and thousands of lights. It was a family-friendly event, so it was a joy to see our team members with their loved ones. My own family has grown, too. In addition to Brie, I adopted my son, Ethan, who is now 11. Five and a half years ago, I met my wife, Aram, and we now have two beautiful girls together. Our family looks like we all came from somewhere different, and I love it. They’re what give me the most happiness. Just last month, we adopted a goldendoodle, adding another fun, energetic component to our lives. After spending Thanksgiving in Philadelphia visiting Aram’s family, we spent Christmas at home, enjoying a quiet holiday together. Well, not too quiet — with a 4-month-old puppy, a 7-month-old baby, a 3-year-old (“threenager”) and an 11-year-old, there were still plenty of adventures. We decided not to do a turkey, instead grilling some awesome steaks and making it a day of family time. It’s important to Aram and me to instill our kids with the meaning of the season and how important it is to spend time with each other. As the holidays wind down, we’ll be right here, ready to say hi with a smiling face and a freshly pressed bag of laundry.

I was promoted to district manager, and while I was able to make it work, it wasn’t easy. Then, an opportunity came to own my own business. I thought, “You know what? I can do this.” I got the money together and bought the store. It was a fresh start. That was my first store. By 2008, we topped out at 23 after I bought out the Best Cleaners stores that brought me to Wichita in the first place. It’s humbling to know that we’re one of the largest dry-cleaning facilities in the Midwest. My team means everything to me. I depend on them every day. Some of them have been with me since I started the company in 2000. When I purchased Best Cleaners in 2008, Dave Zimmerman was the maintenance technician and driver for the previous owners. I noticed that he was a “fix-it” guy. As we grew, I needed all hands on deck, and Dave (aka “Z”) was always there. He’s become a natural leader. I respect him so much that many of his family members also work with us. His wife, Patty, is our co- production team leader; Tabby, his daughter, runs the wash-and-fold department; and her husband, Marcus, does our night cleaning. They’re a wonderful family, and we are blessed to have all of them as a part of our team, and it all started with Dave.

Happy New Year from our family to yours.

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