It was late last year when I talked on the phone with Mr Jim Bardwell for the very first time. We were discussing Fiber Protector and whether or not it would be a good fit for my company. Jim had heard a little bit about me and my forum and Fests and for some reason, that you would need to ask him for, he offered to host a Mikey’s Fest. Maybe it was the success of our recent Mini Fest in Indianapolis that grabbed his attention.
How we picked July, in what turned out to be a nationwide heat wave, is a little hazy as well but just thank the gawds that we were able to move the event out of the ProCare facility and into the air conditioned belly of the very welcoming Hotel Preston. Our barter arrangement to clean their dirty furnishings in trade for use of their convention room worked out great for everyone involved. The Preston is currently undergoing a full internal and external remodeling along with re-staffing and re- imaging, so don’t be surprised if we have another MF there someday.
My wife Paula and I arrived early as we originally planned to have a lot of work for us setting up the Pro Care shop so now we had a day to kill. Jim Bardwell was very gracious with his time and gave us a deluxe city tour far and wide. Who knew there were so many vegans and hipster dufuses in the south. Nashville is a beautiful, sprawling landscape with so much to do, spectate, and eat, that it becomes overwhelming. Coming home yesterday to our one horse town was a sigh of relief, both from over stimulation and back to our precious zero dew points.
The day before MF officially started, a group of 20 Fiber Protector applicators met for a round table discussion and a tour of John Browning’s facility. “FPA” has this industry’s cream of the crop involved so it was a real treat to fix our fishing nets with the group. If you ever get a chance to spend time with Sir RobertPettyjohn, take notes as you and pay close attention and just pray that just a tad of some of that lady killer charm rubs off on you.
Pro Care has five very tidy vans running most of the year, a basic but very thorough rug shop and a staff any of us would kill for. Kevin Warrington leads the crew with an almost militant regime. A very tightly organized and systematized operation that utilizes the very latest computer programs to run schedules, keep inventory updated and insure that the vans are properly maintained. I left thinking Bardwell is going to scorn me when he sees our unorganized hap hazard way of doing things…yikes.
Thursday morning the big show opened and the one and only Jim Bardwell took the stage to present on the benefits of offering a high end fabric protection product to your services. Meg Montgomery Burdick showed how she uses Service Monster to her benefit, John Browning told us how he runs his very tidy business. Steven Hoddlebrink presented us with an up to the minute a Google Update and Ruth Travis and Pettyjohn gave us a wild Vaudeville act while teaching us about the importance of being able to recognize good sheep from terrorist sheep. TomKing knocked us upside the head with a dose of employee realities and how to choose your next upsell service wisely. Lastly, Adam Hale made us weep, giggle and contemplate our roles on the planet as good humans. A full day of excellence, followed by a night downtown that most of us can’t recall but have the bumps and bruises to prove we were tonkin our honkies.
Friday morning had a few more presentations, Truckmount Know-It-All and NSH local Chris Pond, Hard Surface Know-It-All Bryan Thomson, who always manages to teach me something new no matter how many times I sit in his class and an early morning wakeup call with our only double dipper, Tom King.
After the educational programs came to end we saw many attendees call it quits and either go home or sightseeing and an onslaught of “Juice and Gear” nerds arrive for the second half of the Fest. Perfect timing as we needed a lot of passionate hands to get this project completed.
It was time to clean the hotel. Truckmounts were fired up and running from every side of the building, Low moisture gadgets were pounding and pulsating away and Shawn Bisaillon single handedly cleaned just about every piece of upholstery to be found. 300 foot hose runs hooked to Zippers and Bonzers and The World’s Great Carpet Cleaning Wands took greasy grimy carpet and rinsed years of abuse out and away. We made the place shine!
Watching that many carpet cleaning nerds work in unison all over the hotel was impressive, only to be outmatched the following day when and even tighter group of professionals stormed the Brown Center for Autism and cleaning in an almost perfect “ballet of cleaning”..
Our benefit raffle on Friday sent many cleaners home packing over 47 great prizes graciously donated by event sponsors. We earned $3100 for a local Autism learning center through ticket sales.
It’s becoming all a blur now that I’m home but if someone could remind me of what we did on Friday night, I’d sure appreciate it. Oh wait a minute, flash backs to Meg Burdick proving once and for all that she truly is the best saleswoman on the planet is coming back to me…
Saturday afternoon a small group of us headed over to Darren Hickman’s local shop where, as I said elsewhere, “I’ve been to a lot of carpet cleaning "shops", Darren, his business, his market share, his fleet, his daughter, he generosity and his place and part in his community are all exemplary. A great unplanned addition to the Mikey's Fest program.”
Saturday night saw more tonkin down town and farewells to great friends. Another MF is in the books and I was reassured by all 120+ attendees that they thoroughly enjoyed the show and can’t wait for the next one. These fests and trade shows have a loyal following of cleaning nerds who come to each and all, I think the success of this show made a few more of those.
Multi-generational cleaning families are a joy to behold. February is the best month for a MF. If those who said they were coming, actually did, it would have been an uncontrollable mad house. “Saiger” translates to Godly in Latin. The Swivel revolution has begun. Surrounding yourself with excellence as often as possible is a really good idea..
A huge THANK YOU to each and every one who attended and helped out at the event, with extra special kudos to Jim Bardwell, Mark and Kirk Saiger, Shawn and Jakub Bisallion, Katie Pettyjohn, John Browning Browning,Shana Mosley, Justin Stockwell Tom Monahan and Fred Cordell, all of who went far and beyond to insure the show was a success.
We’ll see you in Vegas for the MF Experience where I have all sorts of great MF style activities and classes planned.