Friday, November 29, 2013

Keeping commitments

Our Yellow Pages Representative asked me to come and "say a few words" at the kick off of their annual canvas in the late '80s. Their meeting was on Monday, the day after our convention ended and after three days of meetings and talking, I was hoarse and tired. Monday morning I said to my wife, "I think I'll skip that Yellow Pages luncheon. I don't feel very well." Elizabeth said, "Now you promised Bill Dorrell you'd go, so you'd better go."

The luncheon was a huge event. When I arrived I was handed an engraved program and I was scheduled to speak between Gene Cernan, the Astronaut, and Ameritech's Chairman and CEO, Richard Notebaert. I had nothing prepared so I borrowed a 3 x 5 card from the registration desk and slipped into the restroom to make notes for my speech. Lee Holst, Ameritech's state manager, said it was the best speech I ever gave.

Fortunately, I knew quite a few Yellow Pages people, could personalize the remarks and they enjoyed that. Since Yellow Pages were in my department at work, I also knew a lot about that end of our business so it wasn't difficult to flatter my friends at Ameritech with numbers and statistics. It would have been embarrassing for my company and a disgrace if I had not gone. And I wouldn't have had the privilege of meeting Gene Cernan.

All of the top executives with Ameritech were there along with the Mayor of Indianapolis. I'll never forgive Bill for asking me to stop by and just "say a few words."

PS... This is the anniversary month of Lee Holst's passing in 2010. Hardly a day goes by that something doesn't remind me of him.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shaw joins the exhibitors

Mohawk has been demonstrating fibers that are friendly to animals. Beaulieu is on the animal theme, too. Ads about Invista's new Stainmaster "PetProtect" appeared in early November. The new product is durable, easy-to-clean and resists most difficult pet stains according to publicity releases. They claim pet hair lets go easier when vacuumed.

Shaw Floors restored the Grand Central Terminal in New York City with more than 14,000 square feet of carpet, hardwood and resilient floors. It's estimated that a million people pass through Grand Central Terminal each day, totaling tens of millions of footsteps. This will no doubt be the ultimate test for any floor covering material.

“Just like our homes, the floors of Grand Central Terminal are put to the test each day with kids, messes and weather,” said Randy Merritt, president of Shaw Floors. “Design and durability have been at the core of Shaw Floors and Grand Central Terminal for decades, setting a strong foundation for this year’s partnership in one of the busiest rooms in the world.”

I wonder if Shaw gave any thought to cleaning the carpet? I don't think maintenance was mentioned in the press release but I'm sure the public would be interested. The January Clene Times will have a column about exhibit-type advertising. I'm going to put this Shaw press release in that same issue since it is so interesting.

Monday, November 25, 2013

CRI's Braun to retire

The Carpet and Rug Institute's Werner Braun announced that he will retire at the end of March, 2014. Mr. Braun made the announcement at the CRI's annual meeting held November 13 in Dalton, Georgia.

CRI Board Chairman, David Jolly of J & J Industries, said, "Werner has been a stalwart defender and promoter of the carpet industry throughout his time at the Carpet and Rug Institute. His depth of knowledge on technical issues, combined with his strengths at issues management and consensus-building, have made him an extremely effective leader for the CRI. Werner has set a high bar for his successor."

Braun and his wife Mary and their children Marylyn, 18, and Werner "Bay" Braun, 16, plan to remain in Dalton. "We love it here," Braun said, adding he will continue to be an active community volunteer.

On a personal note, I've had the pleasure of playing golf with Werner on several occasions and having dinner with his wonderful family. Throughout his tenure with CRI, he has always been available and open to any suggestion. Whether he agreed or not, he has always been more than gracious. All of us at Bane-Clene wish Werner a wonderful retirement.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Today is another of those days in our history that we "shall never forget." On this 50th anniversary there are many alive who will never forget where they were and what they were doing when they heard the awful news that our president had been shot.

The motive and perpetrators are still a subject of debate. Union bosses, Mafia members, CIA officials, political opponents and foreign spies have all been juxtaposed along with Communists and others as possible suspects.

One thing is for sure. That day in Dallas changed the direction of our politics and ultimately changed our lives and the world forever. The rest of the '60s were mired in the mud of the cultural revolution and the divisive war in Viet Nam.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tax hint

Check this out with your accountant. The total write-off for new equipment up to $500,000.00 ends with this fiscal year. If you're thinking about buying a new truck, computer, new cleaning equipment or any major capital improvement for your business, do it now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Memoriam

Oka Thompson Negley
February 26, 1926 - November 1, 2013

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of the grand lady who ran my office so efficiently for 35 years. Oka retired in 2010. She was married to Robert H. (Pete) Negley for 60 years. Pete passed away in 2007. Oka is survived by her sister Vivian, children, Dana and Diane, a grandson David, a great granddaughter Kaityln and Tammy, her favorite niece.

In 1975 I hired several secretaries only to find they used white out by the barrel or couldn't spell. In despair my wife Elizabeth said, "You need Oka." They were long-time friends and sorority sisters. Oka was a church secretary when Elizabeth invited her to lunch and asked her to join our company. She did and there is no doubt that she had a strong influence in our company's success over the years through her hard work and dedication to her job.

Oka was perfect. She was prim and proper and always there when needed. When necessary she would work twelve hours without a question. She took short hand as fast as I could talk and typed 90 words-per-minute flawlessly. Oka didn't say much, but when she did it was meaningful and I learned to listen. At Mini-Clinics she kept me on track with Que cards and at every convention she was the official greeter with the beautiful smile. Thousands of our customers from around the world considered Oka a friend.

Over the years she developed a vast knowledge of intellectual property law and worked closely with our lawyers to protect the rights of our customers and our company in the use of our copyrighted ads and trademarks that have proved to be so valuable.

Dr. Herb True, PhD, speaking at our 1976 convention pointed to Oka as a person we should all imitate. He said, "Oka has a smile that would ripen a banana."

That's how I will always remember her.

Friday, November 15, 2013


John Wooden, the legendary coach, had a unique skill enabling him to impart
his philosophies and wisdom to his teams which were exceptional. Wooden was
a fierce competitor but when he lost a game he never blamed officials or his
players. When his team won he didn't brag about his coaching skills and generally
found room for a compliment to the other team in his analysis of the game. Today,
this formula is used by most successful after-game speakers and analysts.

In the carpet cleaning business, it's rare to hear a colleague in the industry
say anything complimentary about a peer. Usually, if given half a chance, the
opposite is true. Even if an insulting comment is true, the criticism casts
a pall over the entire industry. My dear grandmother always said, "If you
can't say anything good about a person, don't say anything." Think about
that the next time you're tempted to knock a competitor.

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Last summer IICRC announced a "new" mission statement to advance
globally recognized standards and certifications for the cleaning, inspection,
restoration and installation industries. The plan includes setting goals all
through their operations including administration, governance, communication,
standards, education, certification, examinations, instructors, schools, marketing,
international activity and especially their "new" affiliated trade
association, the International Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Council
of Associations (IICRCA). That lofty statement can be summed up in one word.

As a died-in-the-wool conservative I have a built-in mechanism that automatically
questions anything that even hints at control. And IICRC's "new" mission
statement reminds me of our bureaucrats in Washington hard at work to make us
believe that bigger is better. But this "new" plan is not really new.
Ed York, the founder of the predecessor, IICUC, was a deep thinker, innovator,
and probably started more enterprises connected with our industry than any person
I knew. Ed saw the potential of controlling the industry through IICUC and set
the wheels in motion for what has become IICRC.

Control was definitely on his mind the day he called me to recruit the PCA,
a private association of Bane-Clene owners, to support IICUC back in the '80s.
In our discussion he told me in no uncertain words that control was the key
objective and listed the advantages of such power. Ed said he admired the way
I controlled PCA. His idea was that in order to control the industry the first
requisite was control of the small associations that represented local cleaners.
While his plan had a certain intrigue, I thanked him for inviting me to participate
but declined because he was wrong. The sixty people who started PCA in 1980
were adamant when they organized it. They wanted an association that was totally
independent of the rest of the industry.

In the mid 1990s, my friend Herb Harpham of Certified Chemical Company was
program chairman for a convention in Toledo, Ohio and asked me to speak. Lee
Zimmermann, president of the association, and his wife Kathy introduced me to
exhibitors and many of their members and made me feel quite welcome. But, just
as I was introduced to speak, a strong advocate of IICRC said loud enough for
everyone in the audience to hear, "Who the hell invited Bane to speak here?"
Herb was embarrassed, but I got a nice hand at the end.

After my speech, I was taken to a private luncheon hosted by IICRC. At that
time they were promoting ICRA, an umbrella spin-off that would essentially mean
the end of any influence by local associations. The movement was unpopular and
was overwhelmingly rejected. Before the principals realized I was in the dining
room, one of them began to outline the same basic plan that I suspect they have
today. About that time I was recognized and informed that the luncheon was a
confidential board meeting and was politely asked to leave. An insider filled
me in later.

The acronym has grown by a few initials (IICRCA) but I'd bet it still promotes
the fundamental ideas that were proposed that day in Toledo. Just like the big
government bureaucrats they emulate, IICRC is beating the same drum. Their intention
is simply to control the cleaning, restoration and installation industries.
The progressive movement in politics started more than a hundred years ago and
just like their models in Washington, they don't give up. They failed in '95,
but to paraphrase the Terminator, "They'll be back".

IICRC has recently purchased a former bank property in Las Vegas that will
serve as its new Global Resource Center. The property has approximately 2,500
square feet of warehouse and 17,500 square feet of office space. My prediction
is that this time they may "get 'er done."

They even own a bank building to hold all of their money.

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans day tribute

L to R: Jim McDonough Owner (US Army Ret), Brandon
Senior Tech, Trainer and Dothan Truck Leader (Veteran Carpet Cleaner ) Garrett
Truck Leader Enterprise ( USMC ), Jordan Carpet and Lawn Technician (Eagle Scout),
Joel Lawn Technician ( Army Infantry ), Michael Lawn Technician ( Ships to Ft
Benning, 5 Nov, Army ), Todd Senior Lawn Tech and Trainer (Navy) & John
Cappadoro Owner (US Army Ret)

Veterans Carpet Cleaning and Lawn Service, LLC, Enterprise,* Alabama

I couldn't think of a better way to recognize Veterans Day than to
feature a group of young warriors who have made the transition from military
life into a successful business. Three years ago in October 2010, two active-duty
army officers took leave, came to Indianapolis and attended Bane-Clene Institute
to investigate the carpet cleaning business.

Six months later, with a combined 42 years of service to their Nation,
Jim McDonough and John Cappadoro purchased their first Bane-Clene system on
their retirement from the Army. The two aviators said their ambitious undertaking
was: "The desire to be small business owners
who could not only be successful but who could take ownership of their future."

Last month as I entered our classroom to address the students, there
were John and Jim in the front row again with two new members of their team.
In just two and a half years they established a good reputation with Angie's
List and built a solid customer base. They're expanding to Dothan, AL., and
brought Brandon Wilder and Garrett Eichorn to school. Their company name reflects
the character of these men. Hiring veterans whenever they can is helping solve
the economic dilemma facing members of our armed forces as the military downsizes.
To Jim and John and all of your people: Good luck and thanks to all of you for
your service. May God bless you and the country you defended so well.

PS: This old Jarhead was touched when Garrett Eichorn, obviously USMC bred,
greeted me with "Semper Fi" and told me Parris Island hasn't changed
much since I was there nearly 69 years ago. I respectfully disagree. I believe
today's warriors are stronger, tougher, better equipped, better trained and
just as dedicated as those who served before them.

* What a great name for a city in which to start a new business!

©Bane-Clene® Corporation 2013 Reprinting or electronically publishing this article is strictly prohibited without permission from Bane-Clene Corp.

I'd like to hear your comments on this article.
Please e-mail me at

Friday, November 08, 2013

A good sign

Brintons Carpets in Kidderminster, England serves the casino, cruise line, hotel and luxury real estate markets and have the honor of being a "Royal Warrant Holder" for providing carpets to Britain’s Royal residences. In 1982 our distributor in the UK and I demonstrated the Bane-Clene Way® to some of their technical and sales staff. I have a cherished letter thanking us for the visit and stating that they would be pleased to recommend us.

Brintons announced recently that the high-end healthcare market is moving from a clinical environment to rooms and suites similar to 5 star hotels. Brinton's is using anti-microbial technology and new carpet designs to enter the healthcare market. The announcement is exciting for another reason, too. The move shows a trend in high-end medical facilities going back to carpet. It's soft, quiet and safe compared to hard, slick and dangerous for falls.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Quote on O'care

John McAfee, founder of the internet security system bearing his name was interviewed on FNC about the new healthcare law. I don't take shorthand and got as much of the interview as I could. This is the essence of the statement:

"It’s seriously bad. Somebody made a grave error, not in designing the program but in implementing the web aspect of it. Anybody can put up a web page and claim to be a broker for this system. I will predict the loss of income for millions of Americans who are going to lose their identities. You can imagine a retired lady who has $75,000 in the bank, her whole life savings, having it wiped out in one day because she signed up. And believe me, this is going to happen millions of times. This is a hacker’s wet dream."

Monday, November 04, 2013

CNG (compressed natural gas)

An advertisement in a trade magazine by HydraMaster introduced a new direct-drive unit that uses CNG. That really makes sense and they are applauded for the move. Hopefully one day CNG will become popular because I believe it's the best alternative fuel. It costs less and burns cleaner. Engines run cooler, last longer, and get better MPG than with gasoline.

In 1991 our service company trucks were rigged for CNG. We stopped using it the next year for two reasons. There was only one CNG filling station in our area and it always had long lines. Our Techs didn't like the usual 45 minute to an hour wait-time. Citizens Gas Co., never followed through with their promise of in-house compressors.

I imagine the government wouldn't allow in-house compressors hooked to the company gas line because they couldn't figure out how to collect the taxes they get at the pump. Like everything else they touch, government slows or stops progress in dealing with foreign oil dependency. If they ever allow in-house compressors we'll convert to CNG again.

Friday, November 01, 2013

More e-mails on "CRI"

Remember a few years ago when CRI was such a hot issue? In researching an article recently I came across more than 200 e-mails that were sent to me at the time and in re-reading them I found them interesting and still pertinent in some cases. There were so many I'll just publish a few of them occasionally. Here's today's batch:

"CRI withdrew its XRF test from ASTM standard consideration when the ASTM scientists submitted a list of written questions. CRI chose to withdraw rather than answer the
technical questions at the ASTM meeting in April, '08."

"The vast majority of carpet warranties have already been VOIDED long before we showed up. The main reason ? The carpet was never correctly installed as per CRI installation standard 104/105. In the last 15 years I have never had anyone ever ask me about their warranty."

"What you have is Green Seal backing away from CRI because CRI wants to distance itself from Green Seal so they can come up with their own standard and shut Green Seal out. Gee would you think the troops at CRI would ever do something to be so self serving? AT the same time Green Seal is no better in its hopes to dominate the Green Market. In the end they each will have to Kiss up to USGBC (United States Green Building Council) because the LEED program drives Green, not one industry like carpet makers or Juice Producers."

"I remain troubled by the "Certified Space Technology" position that is achieved by paying for the "top position", which is not explained in the rankings. It's of interest that this "top billing" was only paid for by franchise organizations."

"When independents get wise to CRI and IICRC plans for dominance, the whole picture will change. Remember the DuPont Stainmaster debacle with Stanley Steemer? When the word gets out us grunts will boycott them. Let the frannies do the work if they can and I know they can't."

"Platinum rating sounds like something the government would invent. Instead of what comes after a trillion, the CRI will be asking, what comes after platinum?"

"Nice to see the CRI and Shaw raising the bar. Mighty Pack by Rug Doctor. Wow, I didn't see that coming and ChemWhoo, too. There is nothing like a little cash to move things along."

PS: It took ten years to sign up the first 1,000 CSPs (Certified Service Providers). In just two years that number shrank to 809. Most CSPs are franchises because independent professional cleaners have resoundingly rejected the program. Even the supporting franchise operators are reluctant to advertise the CRI/SOA, probably because of its love affair with DIY.

PPS: I don't know what the guy who wrote the second from last e-mail knew about our current healthcare situation, but did you notice the comment about "Platinum?" Maybe he's clairvoyant because that e-mail was written several years ago. Or maybe the bureaucrats in Dalton are ahead of those in Washington. Notice the ratings ... Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.