New Franchise Spotlight: Meet Justice Bates, General Manager FRSTeam by McLendon Cleaners
When Trent Tutt, the owner of McLendon Cleaners, joined the FRSTeam franchise, he bought an existing territory in Longview, Texas. Last week we caught up with Trent’s right hand man and General Manager, Justice Bates. We chatted about how to recognize talent when you see it and why a caring company culture is so important to long term success.
||Justice Bates, General Manager at FRSTeam Franchise
Location: Longview, TX
Welcome to FRSTeam! How’s it been so far?
Everyone we talked to has been very open on communication, very willing to help, from corporate to other owners. They all say, “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”
What made McClendon Cleaners join forces with FRSTeam?
During COVID, the retail business experienced the worst case scenario. So when an opportunity for FRSTeam came along, we jumped at the chance. Restoration goes hand in hand with what we’re doing before, but opens up more opportunities, opens up more jobs. It also helps us take better care of the employees we currently have.
What was it like when you transitioned from dry cleaning to restoration?
We’ve always worked closely with other local dry cleaners, there’s a friendly competition. So when we were in the process of buying the franchise I was already familiar with them from previous visits. I really liked the demeanor of the job coordinator and I told Trent, “I want Ajay to be part of the deal.”
A great attitude makes all the difference, at any level. What made this one person stand out to you?
Ajay has a great attitude and he’s a hard worker. He’ll do anything you ask without any grumbling. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot. Everybody loves him from the team here at the cleaners to all the customers.
Moods are contagious, I’m glad you’ve got Ajay there, spreading a good one. What else goes into your work culture?
You know, being a small business can be trying at times, especially with the workforce shortages. What we try to create here is different from anything I’ve seen. We try to operate like a family, we ask about kids, how you enjoyed the weekends — without getting too personal from an employer’s standpoint — but genuinely caring. We want to create an environment where people enjoy themselves and feel seen.
When you think of your future at FRSTeam, what are you most excited about?
I see us maximizing the potential we have in our area. I’m excited about being able to help the people who work for us, help them provide better for their families.
What do you want your customers to think of when they think of your business?
I’m aware our customers are going through the toughest time of their life, but if they have time to think of us I want them to think of our customer service, of the attitude we provide. I want them to know we’re going to make the process as seamless as possible.
When you think of your day to day work, what comes to mind?
Preparing for the day ahead. We plan the next day because we want to provide 5 star service to everyone we come across. If we want to be better than everyone in the region, we need to stay on top of the game.
Super ambitious! Do you have a favorite expression, hero, or something that comes to mind that gets you through to the next level?
Andy Andrews is my favorite author. He always says, “Where you are in life is because of the best decision you ever made.” In the future if we want to be the best, we need to make the best decisions for everybody today.
Thinking about your work, finish this sentence: I get up in the morning…
…to support my family to give them the most I can. Work ethic is important. My wife and I show our kids the value of getting up and contributing to society, to the workforce. I get up because I come to a place where people depend on me. I get us in a position to win the next day.
Trent is the backbone of this business. He’s the hardest working guy I’ve ever met in my life, I don’t know how he juggles it. He does so much for us and the other 4 companies he owns a stake in, we all depend on him.