Long-established business passes from one family to another
by Heidi Riley
Stern’s Launderers and Dry Cleaners in Charlottetown is one of PEI’s longest-running businesses. In operation since 1889, it was purchased in January 2022 by new owners Andrew Bonnell, a lobster fisherman based in North Lake, and Heather MacAulay, co-owner of marketing agency Volume 18.
Previous owners Terry and Nora McKenna, who ran the business for 20 years, plan to stay on for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for the new owners.
“We are quite fortunate that we have a lot of similarities with Terry and Nora, which makes us a good fit,” says Heather. “We both had three young children when we bought the business. We have developed a great relationship with the McKennas during the process of the acquisition.”
About the staff
Currently, about 17 staff work in a wide variety of roles: a Manager, Labourers, a Maintenance person who maintains the machinery, Drivers, Office Support, Customer Service, and specialty positions in dry cleaning and pressing.
“The current team at Stern’s is a well-oiled machine,” says Heather. “Some of them have been there 30 years. We are very fortunate to be walking into a business with such loyal, hard-working, and dedicated employees. Those qualities can be hard to find these days.”
How has the business been affected by the pandemic?
“The tourism and hospitality industry is a significant part of the business, and there was certainly a loss of revenue because hotels and restaurants were not full. But we are optimistic that as people begin to travel again, things will return to normal.”
A few new staff members have recently been hired, and there are plans to hire more full-time people in Production, as Labourers, and as Garment Pressers in permanent positions and seasonally for the busy time of May to October.
“Given the current labour market climate, we were pleased to see a good amount of interest in our job ads that were posted on Work PEI, Facebook, and especially on Indeed,” says Heather.
The work is fast-paced and hands-on. Job duties include:
- Provide superior service for clients
- Operate pressing machines
- Remove a finished article of clothing from the pressing machine and hang properly to allow article to cool and retain its shape
- Ability to work independently
- Pitch in with other areas of the operation when necessary
Qualifications and abilities needed
“The big thing we look for is teamwork and passion. We are willing to work with people to learn the skills they need, but we look for people to come in with the right attitude and a team approach.
“Our current employees pitch in to help the others if their own job is done. The willingness to jump in when needed really allows the operation to run seamlessly. The ability to work independently is also important.”
How to apply
“We prefer to see a resumé in advance so that we can look for past experience and fit, but we also welcome people to drop in with their resumé. The hiring process includes a one-on-one interview with the manager.”
To apply, submit your resumé in person to 234 Kent Street in Charlottetown, apply through Facebook, Indeed or WorkPEI, or email [email protected]
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about Stern’s Launderers and Dry Cleaners, visit www.facebook.com/SternsPEI