Happy New Year, friends! As we gear up for a busy 2013, I wanted to take a moment to share a letter sent to our corporate office from one of our “chief liquidators”, Linda Clossman. I’m sure many of you reading this have had the pleasure of meeting Linda at one of our hotel liquidation sales, as she is at just about all of them! Over the years, Linda has helped in making sure the sales run as seamless as possible. Thank you for all you do, Linda! Without further or do, I present to you Linda’s holiday letter:
Just wanted to let you all know what a wonderful sale we had at Willow Valley in Lancaster. I’m not talking about the sales sheet aspect, althought that was a really good reason to be there! I’m talking about the beauty of the property and being there during a thankful and beautiful time of the year.
Typically, after being home for a few days after a sale, I start to miss work, many of our customers, and even co-workers! Additionally, at Willow Valley, I miss the pond with the ducks, geese, and a resident blue heron, the landscaping, tennis courts, a covered bridge, and the chapel with it’s chimes announcing the hour and playing hymns and Christmas music. Yep, all that was hard to tolerate on a daily basis!
As for our customers, we had “carry-overs” from the Hagerstown sale (Joe/Josepi, Kevin, etc.); local repeat buyers like Barry, who literally bought tons of stuff, including two of the giant mixers in the Bakery Kitchen and the front desk; to Nancy, a small caterer who brought us homemade pies; to Frank, from the Holiday Inn sale, who brought us a Pasquale’s pizza pie! Oh yeah, and Same from Dienner’s Restaurant, who came in from out of the blue and bought the pie crust press near the end of the sale.
Some of the local folks who worked with us were Jerry (who saved NCL countless dollars by wearing the same name tag for days), Jim, Elaine, and Lorene. From the property management company, was Pat, Kelly, and Jim. And from Engineering, Joe and Paul, both were invaluable to us and to the success of the sale. These are all nice, very pleasant and helpful people to be around.
Another highlight of the sale was Thanksgiving. It was a welcome day off, of course. We (Greg, Edgar, Josh and I, plus the occasional NCL-er Mel) had a wonder-full dinner in the Palm Court at the Double Tree Hotel – part of the Willow Valley premises. We shared with each other what we are thankful for. Thank you, NCL.
Last Friday, the demolition company put up fencing around the south building – the free-standing 2 story structure. And first thing Monday morning, the claw machine started chewing at it. By noon, at least a fourth of the 28-30 rooms were gone. The main building will be next — time for us to leave!
I drove home leisurely, still taking in the peaceful countryside of the area and enjoying aspects of the sale. But, I thought, if I never see another big-ass bakery in a hotel sale, it would be too soon. All that little plastic made-in-China stuff that I priced frantically on opening day as it came through the cashier line – and everybody had some of it. There were toys, animals, graduation figures in caps and gowns, little finger rings for all occasions, all holidays. Harvest themes with scarecrows, turkeys, pumpkins and “Have more pie”. Scary things like rubber spiders, skulls, ghosts and goblins. Christmas stuff of trees, stars, wreaths, Santas, lamp posts, snowmen. Easter bunnies, eggs, baby chicks, Sports items: football helmets, tops to spin, even female golfers. Princess crowns, rubber dolls with a spike instead of a torso to hold her upright in a cake (Barbie gone cake-crazy?). Robed priests giving communion. See what I mean? The point is, no matter what your occasion, that bakery could decorate a cake for it. Anyway, there was a plethora of plastic. And it sold like cake. Hot cakes, I mean. So, if I never again see anything to do with a bakery, that would be okay with me.
Back to the drive home — Oh, ahead on the left side of the road! Homemade baked goods! Bread, pastry, cakes and pies! Oh yeah, I had to stop for that. Probably Amish made. Yum! I hadn’t had any baked goods since the hotel bakery closed. Perfect!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!
About Linda: She joined NCL in 1973 in Augusta, GA., home of the Master’s Golf Tournament, and yes, she did go to the Master’s while at the job! After ten years, she reluctantly gave up her nomadic life style in 1983.
For the next 22 years, she worked a variety of positions near her home in NJ, including testing software in the corporate offices of Arco Chemical, Burlington Coat Factory, and Pep Boys.
In 2005, the call of the road beckoned her back to NCL. This year she’ll enter her 19th year of liquidations with NCL. (No telling how many suitcases she’s worn out!)
Some of her personal highlights, during her two stints as a liquidator, are: Cincinnati – The Sheraton Gibson, Netherland Plaza, and Vernon Manor; New York City – The Commodore, Alrae, Plaza, Mark and Surrey; St. Louis – The Mark Twain and Sheraton Jefferson; Atlantic City – The Marlborough-Blenheim, Dennis, and Sands; Philadelphia – The Warwick, Bellevue-Stratford, and Ben Franklin; DC – The Burlington, Park Hyatt, St. Regis, Jefferson, and Watergate.
Lastly, Linda mentioned that she credits her career and skill as a liquidator in large part to her mother, Etta Clossman. Her mom worked auctions and sales for NCL and helped develop some of the business processes still used today. In those early days, she visited her at some of the sales and was eventually hire to work with her. During the two short years they worked together, she taught her many important business lessons including the fine art of customer development and various sales techniques. Etta used to say that selling (hotel liquidations) could get in your blood. Linda knew she was right, but had no idea how long it last!