sophisticated practices. It was critical to surround ourselves with appropriate and fitting professionals not only for the company, but for us as individ- uals,” Stephanie said. “So far, what’s been the greatest in all this is our relationship. We’ve grown closer, understand and appreciate each other more.”
ADVICE TO OTHERS
Stephanie Guido of Automated Laundry Systems.
Stephanie responded to our interview questions while in the midst of transferring the company. “I am purchasing the common shares of the company today, April 6, at 2 p.m.,” she said. The pro- cess was begun in 2011 when Frank and Thérèse began talking about selling the com- pany and retiring. Stephanie was working for a non-profit food bank and needed a new challenge. “We made a four- to five-year plan for me to take the reins, and here we are,” she said.
Frank embraced the inter- net as early as 1995, when he registered the name laveuse. com. The company’s website is an integral part of marketing efforts today. In this regard, the two generations see eye to eye. Stephanie has made some sweeping changes: “I’ve hired a parts manager (Corine Elkaim), a project coordinator (Martin Viau) and an admin- istrative assistant to keep us and the bookkeeping in line,” Stephanie said.
“I’ve also created my own business plan, which in turn has changed the direction our business is taking. We are in continuous review of our cur- rent state, analyzing and com- paring products, pricing and services from suppliers.” In 2015 they moved to a larg- er location. “It’s a never end- ing story, which pleases me immensely,” Stephanie said. To prepare for the transfer, they hired an accounting firm to help Stephanie learn basic accounting skills and create new processes for the system. “We needed more defined and
“Both parties must prioritize communication and unite as a whole. A great team is essen- tial. I was incredibly fortunate to pick mine as I developed the company, and they’ve been integral in our advancement and the success of our trans- fer,” said Stephanie.
Laundry Centre Alexander Grigoroff took over Quick Clean Laundry Centre in Toronto, Ont. from his father about five years ago when he retired. It was a natural move. “As a kid I always helped my dad with the business. I would go to school during the week and help on the weekends or just keep him company.” His father and grandfather started the busi- ness in 1962, foreseeing the demand for laundromats in the city core. “They worked hard, took a lot of risk financially, trained themselves and worked well together to make the busi- ness succeed,” he said. Grigoroff went to university and graduated with a degree in engineering and psychology. “University not only taught me these subjects, it taught me how to learn.” While he was in school, his grandfather passed away, leaving his father to
Grigoroff father and son of Quick Clean Laundry Centre.
Alexander Grigoroff of Quick Clean Laundry Centre.
run the business alone. While Alexander actively sought an engineering position, his father wanted to retire. “When he decided to put up our last and best location, I decided to take over the business. I felt I had prepared for this my entire life. We were financially sound, I was well trained, and I was old enough to know the value of hard work and take responsi- bility to succeed. “Taking over has allowed a
productive and healthy work relationship between me and my father, which has been critical to the success of the business. Giving away con- trol proved to be as much a challenge for him as for me to take on the responsibility. I had been used to looking up to him and letting him lead all my life.”
Looking back, Alexan- der would do it again – only sooner. “I should have taken over the business at an earli- er time in my life. Knowing how much I care about it and enjoy it now, I wouldn’t have spent so much time looking for engineering work while my dad was selling off his stores.” Grigoroff has expanded the store to a multi-service laundry facility, picking up and deliv- ering laundry to customers across the city. “Having those locations would have given me the opportunity to increase my business efficiencies by reduc- ing operating costs and making pickup and return quicker.” Grigoroff has introduced a
wide variety of washers and dryers, including some large Maytag Commercial Laundry front-load washers as big as 80 lbs. He also added a wash/
12 FABRICARE CANADA May/June 2016
dry/fold service, alteration ser- vices, a washer/dryer transfer service and will be adding dry cleaning services soon. Origin- ally, the location was unat- tended and self-serve.
ADVICE TO OTHERS “Care about the business and devise a short-term and long- term plan for both parties. There has to be a way out for the one transferring, and a way in for the person taking over. Being financially stable helps. Passing the torch is chal- lenging and rewarding. It’s a process and a journey. Be will- ing to work hard and respect the history of the business. I hope to pass the torch on one day,” he said.
A&B Party Event Rentals
A&B is a full-service party and corporate event rental com- pany in Vancouver, B.C. The company has a 5,000-square- foot showroom to view and practise set-ups, a staff of 52 full-time workers, and handles up to 150 events per week- end in their high season. Their attitude is summed up in the motto, “Yes, we do that!” Originally A&B Services,
the company will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year. Tom and Judy Sebal purchased the company in 1990, and changed the name to A&B Partytime Rentals Ltd., and transferred it to their sons Dan and Malcolm in 2010. At that time, the company began processing its own lin- ens. “We decided to purchase our own laundry equipment
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