Features — 30 May 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Belize stars in dry cleaning services sector

There are some who believe that Belizean enterprises cannot compete on a regional or even international scale, but in the services sector, there are clearly Belizean businesses which stand out for trying to raise the bar, to achieve higher standards of service.

Alan Spielvogel, Director of Technical Services for the National Cleaners Association based in New York City, today concluded an in-house, 1-week training for 11 members of staff at Belize Cry Cleaners – an enterprise which he told us is, for the most part, a lot better than similar kinds of establishments in the USA, and which, he said, “can serve as a model for other members.”

“It looks like you’re going into a high-end clothing store. We call it a sizzle!” Spielvogel said, lauding the enterprise’s collections of garments, shoes and accessories, rented for occasions such as proms and weddings.

The environment is very clean and well-ventilated; the equipment is well-maintained and regularly updated to make the job easier and more efficient, said Spielvogel.

He told us that the owners of the business, Lascelle and Dolores Arnold, are long-time members of the association, and they invited him to Belize to upgrade the skills of the staff – one of the paid services the association provides to its members.

Arnold told us that they had been planning this training visit for years. He said that he requested the training for his staff because he wants to ensure that they are up to standard.

Since Monday, Spielvogel has been working with the trainees to improve customer service, as well as their know-how in the maintenance and laundry departments. They were also trained in improving their efficiency at dry cleaning, stain removal and finishing. It is more cost-effective to have workers trained on-site, and they can do the training using company equipment, which helps the trainer to troubleshoot problems these workers face on the ground with their workflow, the trainer said. Improved efficiency is the main purpose of the training.

Spielvogel said that this was his first visit to Belize and he felt welcomed here. He said that he was also impressed with the staff’s willingness to learn: “Everybody here has been quick to learn and adapt. We have had no issues with people not listening. They are very eager to learn,” he told us.

Spielvogel said that the National Cleaners Association has a membership of 2,000, but only 100 to 150 actually tap into their training programs, and those are usually the better operators and those who want to improve productivity and quality.

We understand that the Belize Dry Cleaners has major expansion plans, including the upgrade of its laundry services to give users a modern hub experience with accessibility to Wi-Fi.

During our tour of the facilities on Friday, Spielvogel demonstrated for us the removal of dye from fabric in roughly two minutes using hydrofluoric acid as the active agent.

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