Paul Breehne opened up Same Day Cleaners after selling his painting company in 1999, but that is not where the story begins.
While his family was nomadic throughout his childhood, with homes all across the state of Illinois, he learned business stability from his father at a young age.
“Dad was the kind of guy that would walk in somewhere and people knew him because of the way he did business. People knew what they were getting from him. That is something that always stuck with me,” said Breehne.
After graduating from high school, Paul stayed with his family’s business, Illinois Laundry and Cleaners, and worked there even after they sold it, until he was 25. At that point, he relocated to Naples because he wanted to get a new experience. It wasn’t until after he started working at Coca-Cola as a driver that he felt the entrepreneurial bug biting again.
“Dad came down to Florida and wanted to build an equipment rental business. He offered me 25% of the business, but I wouldn’t get anything until it was making money,” Paul said. The company sold after three years and Paul’s 25% share was enough for him to buy a couple duplexes and start his painting company. “I watched my father’s success. I saw how he grew a business, but it was time for me to do it on my own. I took the money I had left over after the business sold and started the painting company,” said Breehne.
He went out and got jobs where he could, and he was the only employee. Fast-forward seven years to fifty-five employees and $1.5 million in revenue per year, and Paul was ready to sell.
“It was the right time. I was looking forward to getting back into the dry cleaning business, and the perfect opportunity came up,” said Breehne.
He sold the painting business and purchased his first dry cleaning shop at Creech Road in 1999. For the first three years in business, his dad was his competition. That was until Paul decided to team up with his mentor.
“Dad accepted my offer to go 50/50. We consolidated all of the stores. I told him he was getting a little old to be swinging the wrenches. I offered to be the front man, if he was willing to help out with administrative. It was my proudest moment in business when he accepted,” he said.
Later that year, in 2003, his dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family swept in to help out. His wife, Dawn, took on a variety of roles. His daughter, Danielle, has worked there since she was 16. His sister and her husband moved down to take on a role, too. Paul’s father passed in 2006, and his memory continues to drive the family business to grow. With six locations and one new store opening soon, Paul credits business practices for the success.
“Everything we do, we are conscious of our morals and values. I have always got along with competition. If someone has a problem or is in a time of need, you help them – that’s the way my father taught me to do business. If you do things right, your business will grow,” he said.
Today the business sits at forty-five employees and growing.
Paul’s favorite part about the business? Growth.
“I love finding new places, new people, and building business relationships that will last a lifetime. I am lucky to have my family here with me for the ride,” said Breehne.
© 2015 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.