MGC Vendor Spotlight: Rebeca Merigian and Park Cleaners
At an MGC public meeting in November 2019, MGM Springfield representatives introduced Rebeca Merigian, the president of Park Cleaners, to the Commission. MGM hired Merigian’s company to provide dry cleaning services to the casino and has since developed a strong business partnership, facilitating the local vendor’s significant business growth and continued professional development.
Merigian took over the dry cleaning company four years ago, 80 years after the company was started by her great-grandfather in Springfield.
At one point in its history, Park Cleaners had more than 20 employees, according to BusinessWest, but the number had dwindled to only four around the same time MGM Springfield was preparing to open. Two of those employees included Merigian’s son and nephew.
“We’ve been around since 1935,” Merigian said during the public meeting. “It’s been in my family the entire time. The more recent history of my company, it has been a struggle.”
In 2018, Park Cleaners landed a contract with MGM Springfield to clean employee uniforms on casino property and provide dry cleaning services for hotel guests and the casino’s management team.
Merigian told BusinessWest in May 2018 that she hoped the contract with MGM Springfield would “double our business.” Instead, the company grew 350 percent, going from four employees to 14. The majority of new employees are community members from the Forest Park neighborhood in Springfield.
“I think that my favorite part, actually, has been working with the community,” Merigian said. “We’ve always been, you know, just kind of sustaining. So now to be growing is kind of a new thing for me. To have the support of MGM, I think will ensure the success of my company, hopefully for another 84 years.”
Merigian said her company is in the process of becoming certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). She also noted the added benefits of her partnership with MGM Springfield, including access to a local mentorship program.
“Rebeca and Park have been in the program since January of this year,” Ryan Geary, MGM Springfield’s Director of Finance Operations, said. “I think the first step, we connected them with the Cycle of Success Institute, and they did a full analysis. Through that process they did — they mapped out business processes. They identified I believe it was up to 50 items, and categorized them and did an analysis on that to really prioritize what the team wanted to focus on to grow the business.”
Geary said Merigian is now also partnered with Anthony Caratozzolo, MGM Springfield’s vice president of hospitality, as an executive sponsor. He said Caratozzolo is available as a point of contact on the executive committee for any questions Merigian has or any continued support that’s needed.
“The mentorship program is wonderful,” Merigian said. “It provides me a pathway to get questions answered for the growth of my business. You know, I don’t want to make the wrong decisions. I could easily go out of business by buying the wrong equipment or making a bad decision. So to have the support of this company is assuring to me to be able to make the proper steps.”
Through her partnership with MGM Springfield, Merigian has also taken a course on the fundamentals of business management, allowing her to enhance her own business skills alongside the growth of her company.
“What that’s doing is teaching me kind of how to structure my business, you know, more of an executive level, which is important because I’m going to be needing help in that area,” Merigian said. “It’s hard for me to make all the decisions all the time right now. I’m the President and I’m the Vice President and the Treasurer and the Secretary. So how do I split that up? And this is leading me very well, so it’s very good. I’m excited about it.”
“Basically, it was just a dream to be sitting here right now today about four years ago,” Merigian continued. “So we’re very proud to be part of this project.”
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