The Oceanside Difference: Creating a Culture of CARE
Recently, we’ve had a run of good news at Oceanside Cleaners. In November, CINET, a global textile care association, honored Oceanside Cleaners as the best retail cleaner globally among small and medium-sized businesses. The next week America’s Best Cleaners included us in the 2020 Leadership Forum, where our owner, Mike Harris, served on a panel of five industry leaders to discuss how we’ve managed and adapted in the current business environment. And only a few weeks later, we learned that The Knot was inducting Oceanside Cleaners into its Best of Weddings Hall of Fame.
It’s been quite the humbling experience. Reflecting on these accomplishments, we know they are a credit to the culture we’ve created at Oceanside.
Often, businesses don’t define their culture, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It can be implied through observed behaviors and values and evolve organically, or it can be more purposeful. Several years ago, we decided that we wanted to be intentional about the culture we were creating.
From the start, our approach to culture has centered on the idea that if you treat your employees and your partners right, they’ll treat your customers right. Over the years, this has evolved into what we call our CARE mission:
Attention to Details
Respect our Community
Empower One Another
There’s no shortcut to culture. It’s similar to raising kids. You have to spend time with it, and you have to spend money on it. Without making those investments of time and money, you’re unlikely to get the culture you want. Whether you’re a customer, partner, employee, or job seeker, here’s how you might experience Oceanside’s culture of CARE.
Customer-centric people take the time to listen and understand. They anticipate customer needs and create positive customer experiences. A customer-centric team considers customers in every decision and action.
Here are a few of the actions we’ve taken at Oceanside as a result of being customer centric:
- Launching the Oceanside app so customers can easily track and manage orders
- Sending text messages and email reminders about orders so customers don’t forget their garments
- Accepting pickup requests via text to save customers’ time
- Offering complimentary pickup and delivery to fit into customers’ busy lives
- Providing temporary free services to customers dealing with a brief health crisis
Even as we’ve expanded over the years to provide additional services, it has all been customer driven. As a one-stop shop for fabric cleaning, our goal is to offer customers the convenience of working with one trusted partner to take care of all their textile cleaning needs.
Attention to Details
People with close attention to detail demonstrate a high level of thoroughness and accuracy. They take care of the little things, and it’s often that unexpected attention to the small details that surprises and delights customers.
At Oceanside, attention to detail looks like:
- Meticulously inspecting each item for spots, snags, color loss, hems out, missing buttons, and holes
- Each item going through the hands of 13 highly trained team members for quality control
- Using premium quality hangers and collar stays
- Providing button and zipper repair at no extra cost
On the bridal side of our business, being customer centric and attentive to detail has led to the development of a full service offering that includes small, extra-mile perks like complimentary delivery to the wedding venue and pickup from the reception.
Respect our Community
Respecting our community means being kind, expressing empathy, and acting with compassion and integrity. Community refers to our team, customers, partners, and the local Jacksonville area, but we also believe it’s important to be cognizant of our impact as global citizens.
At Oceanside, respect is vital to building the relationships that lead to a customer-centric team and business. In the broader community, we focus on two areas: sustainability and service.
Recognized by the Green Cleaners Council since 2013, we show care for the health and wellbeing of the community through our sustainability efforts, which include:
- Organic and eco-friendly solvents
- A barcode system for tracking customer items (rather than paper tickets and staples)
- Reusable and biodegradable garment bags
- Hanger recycling
- Motion-detecting lights
- Gold standard wet cleaning machines rated 100% eco-friendly by the EPA
- Dry cleaning machines with reduced emissions and water use
- Ceiling drying racks for air drying
- Diesel vehicle fleet
Our family was born and raised in Jacksonville. We love this community, so it’s important for us to give back. Over the years, we’ve donated to more than 100 charity events, churches, high schools, and nonprofits, including the Rotary Club, Boys and Girls Club, Mission House, and the Amelia Island Book Festival. In addition, for 15 years we’ve helped the Ronald McDonald House quickly turn their guest rooms by cleaning the bedding and linens free of charge.
Empower One Another
Empowering one another means providing team members with autonomy, authority, and accountability. It requires trust and courage, as well as team members with a learning mindset.
At Oceanside, we empower our team members to do what is right for the customer. One example of what empowerment looks like at Oceanside is that any employee can send a garment to another department, whether spotting, alterations, or pressing, if it needs attention.
Our culture of CARE is literally written on our walls in our facilities, and it flows through our people and our decisions. For us, being purposeful with our culture has brought us great results. We’ve grown from one employee in a 1,000-square-foot plant to more than 80 employees in two locations and an 8,000-square-foot plant. And you might notice familiar faces at Oceanside, as nearly half of our team members have been with Oceanside for more than five years and nearly 10 have been part of the Oceanside family for more than 15 years.
Our culture of CARE is something we’re always working on evolving. In fact, we recently started a steering committee with team members from each department to help take care (pardon the pun) of our culture.