Greg McElroy, owner of Wildwood Quality Cleaners, believes sticking to the fundamentals makes for successful business.
"We really focus on quality," he said. "We're fair and honest and we treat people like we want to be treated. We are a family business with three generations having worked here. Before too long, it will be four generations."
McElroy's father started the business in 1980. "He had a country store across the street from the local dry cleaners which went out of business," he explained. "My dad didn't know anything about the dry cleaning business but he hired an employee who had experience which probably saved him. He ran it for five years before he passed and I took it over. I've been doing it ever since."
McElroy's business practices have kept customers coming in so much through word of mouth that he does not even need to advertise. "We don’t even think about advertising because our customers each tell ten people about us," he said. "Our locals love to tell others about the business. The Villages is booming and they're good about telling people about us. At this point, we're just trying to keep up with what's coming in, and will have to get some more equipment before too long."
McElroy's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to roll up your sleeves. "You better be willing to work hard," he said. "I don’t think people go into it realizing the price they'll have to pay to be successful. You have to make a lot of sacrifices for five or ten years before a business starts coming into itself. It’s a long journey so you have to think long term not short term."