Management Moves

Leaving Town

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Deaths

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Prepared for the September 5, 2000 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane: Restoring Teddy Bears

Restoring teddy bears and other cherished belonging

that have been damaged by fire — it may not be an extremely

lucrative

business, but as a dry cleaner’s specialty, it works for Arthur Weiss.

Weiss, the president of Betty Brite Cleaners, has renovated and

reopened

a 20,500 square-foot plant at Windsor Industrial Park that is being

billed as the largest in North America specializing in disaster

restoration

services. His grand opening celebration will be Tuesday, September

19. A plant tour will begin at 10 a.m., and at 11:30 a.m. a press

conference will announce a national Coats for Kids program. Ribbon

cutting will be at noon.

Weiss is the third generation in the drycleaning and tailoring

business;

his grandfather had a tailor shop in the Bronx, and in 1950 his father

opened a drycleaning establishment in Queens but moved it to Twin

Rivers in 1971. A month later, when he was just 17 years old and a

freshman at Lehman College, Arthur Weiss’ father died, and he had

to leave college and take over the business. His mother, Laura,

continued

working in the business until her hip operation at age 75.

Weiss opened a shop in Mercerville in 1978, sold the original location

in 1990, and started a VIP express service for homes and offices.

The current plant is a rental at Windsor Industrial Park in the former

Mack Lumber building. The business has grown 25 percent a year for

the past three years and employs 25 people. Among its charity projects

are collecting "Coats for Kids," for Trenton’s LIFT (Looking

Into the Future Together), and canned goods and adult clothing for

hurricane victims.

The new "environmentally friendly" equipment can recirculate

process water, recover solvents using advanced aircleaning system,

and use waste steam recovery for generating hot water. Advanced

wetcleaning

technology uses solutions with 60 percent water and only 40 percent

solvent.

In an overcrowded field, Weiss looked for a specialty, and now he

is a textile restoration expert — cleaning textiles that had been

exposed to smoke, soot, fire, or water damage. Items that would

otherwise

be doomed to landfills are returned to complete their intended use,

says Lori Hullfish, customer relations manager. "In addition,

we accomplish the challenging task of bringing peoples’ lives back

to normal after a catastrophe."

More than 80 percent of the company’s work is reclamation business,

obtained by recommendations from insurance companies and cleaning

contractors. "I consider the business more than a job. I spent

a lot of time developing my skills and I enjoy doing it," says

the 46-year-old Weiss. He is founder and president

of the International Association of Restoration Drycleaners, and has

certifications from several other trade groups.

Many dry cleaners say they do restoration, but —

in a 75-mile radius — Weiss has identified only six that really

do specialize in it. "That means a lot of others are saying they

can do it," says Weiss.

Requirements for succeeding in the restoration business include being

fair to the insurance company and working well with contractors who

are doing the cleaning in the burned out home. Most important, says

Weiss, is to have a good bedside manner, to make the client feel at

ease that their possessions will turn out OK. "We do see people

going through an emotional roller coaster. It is a new experience,

and it is traumatic. If it is a very bad disaster, it doesn’t get

corrected over night but takes months. We see people going through

all the different phases."

When his plant deodorizes items and treats the soot and smoke, the

cost, surprisingly, is usually only 40 to 50 percent more than regular

cleaning. "That covers our going to the home, packing the clothes,

inventorying for the insurance with our quote, separating the items

by the rooms they came from, storage, and bringing them back."

Even that price may seem expensive compared to replacing clothes,

he admits, but insurance reimburses victims only for the

"as-is"

value, the condition that the clothes were in, and they pay very

little

for used clothing. "Plus, it takes people a long time to

accumulate

a wardrobe to suit their tastes," he says.

"I take special attention to stuffed animals because I collect

them," says Weiss. He and his insurance-agent wife, Amy-Lisa,

happened to buy cute pillows with teddy bear faces about five years

ago, and now they have a collection of more than 100 stuffed bears.

His specialty within the specialty is the "businessperson

bear,"

and his current favorite carries a monogrammed briefcase and has a

cell phone that beeps.

One particular set of animal treasures was in such bad shape he told

the customer it could not be restored. "They wanted them cleaned

regardless. One of my people spent an awful lot of time on them —

and they look almost like new," says Weiss. Stuffed animal

restoration

generally costs $10 to $20, a well-worth-it price, as parents know.

"You wouldn’t want to tell a child he has to throw his teddy bear

away."

— Barbara Fox

Betty Brite Cleaners, 92 North Main Street, Windsor

Industrial Park, Building 15F, Windsor 08561. Arthur Weiss, president.

609-426-4600; fax, 609-426-4604. E-mail: Bbritecln@aol.com

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Management Moves

Boston Properties (BXP), 502 Carnegie Center, Suite

100, Princeton 08540. Micky Landis, vice president and regional

manager.

609-452-1444; fax, 609-452-1453.

Mark E. Hockenjos is now a regional property manager for the Princeton

portfolio. A graduate of Fordham and formerly associated with Trammell

Crow in Pennsylvania, Hockenjos will be in charge of tenant relations,

operating budgets, and supervision of property managers.

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Leaving Town

Ardent Software, 5 Vaughan Drive, Wing A, Suite

109,

Princeton.

Home page: www.informix.com.

This regional office of a Denver-based software company has had its

name changed to Informix Software, moved to Edison, and is available

at 732-744-1771; fax 732-744-1773.

Speedway Blues Inc., 335 Wall Street, Research

Park, Princeton 08540. Tim Boyle, president. 609-252-1155; fax,

609-252-1166.

Tim Boyle and Paul Kapp are moving their imprinted apparel firm

to 500 Australian Avenue, Suite 730, West Palm Beach,

FL 33401; 561-835-8511. It sells and markets soft goods such as

shirts,

hats, and sweat clothes. One employee, the accountant, will stay here

and work from her home.

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Corrections

The website of the various entities of Nelson

Communications

was printed incorrectly on August 30. For Nelson Professional Sales,

NCI Consulting, NCI Managed Care, Lyceum Medical Education, and Pharma

Communications Inc., www.nelsoncommunications.com is the correct

address.

For an article published August 30, Elaine Verna is the president

of IsSound, and Mark Hakkinen is chief technology officer of IsSound,

and the fax number of 609-637-0177. Ray Ingram, co-founder of the

company, no longer works at the firm.

Top Of Page
Deaths

Rebecca Sachs Mackey, 63, on August 24. She was a physical

education teacher and coach at Princeton Regional Schools. A memorial

service is Sunday, September 17, at 3 p.m. at Princeton Racquet Club,

Raymond Road.

Nila Laborde Nicholas Abalos, 53, on August 31. She was

director of social work at Princeton Nursing Home.

Joseph Henderson, 56, on September 1. He owned Henderson

Building & Painting in Princeton.


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