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Small Business Spotlight: Vanguard Cleaning Systems

Alerus | AUG 01, 2015

For many people, climbing the corporate ladder eventually becomes more grueling than rewarding. They reach a decision point: am I really going to do this until I retire, or is it time to break away and become something more? Cindy Banchy asked herself those questions nearly 10 years ago, and her answer eventually led her to become a major franchise owner for Vanguard Cleaning Systems of Minnesota.

Hard Work, Entrepreneurial Spirit

Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Cindy Banchy learned two things: how to work hard and how to find ways to sustain a business. She saw how her family poured its energy into farming, constantly needing to find new ways to survive in that high-cost, labor-intensive industry. 

Inspired by her family’s dedication and entrepreneurial spirit, Cindy decided to leave the farm and go to college; she eventually went on to earn an MBA. She had grown to become passionate about business, and that passion combined with her education earned her a job at IBM. 

Cindy would spend the next 16 years at IBM, holding a variety of positions, leading initiatives, and putting her business mind to work for the company. By year 14 or 15, Cindy had reached her decision point: remain at IBM or become something other than a corporate employee. She started gathering ideas and information about what kinds of opportunities might await her outside IBM’s walls. 

After a long process of talking with her family and working through some fears, she ultimately decided to strike out on her own and become a business owner. She purchased a franchise from Vanguard Cleaning Systems, a leading commercial cleaning service with locations across the U.S. and Canada. 

About the Business

Vanguard franchisees offer customizable cleaning services for a variety of industries, such as general offices, medical offices, schools, churches, multi-tenant buildings, and much more.  Cindy has now been with Vanguard for nearly a decade as a Master Franchise Owner. Essentially, that means she sells Vanguard franchisee rights to people who are interested in getting into the commercial cleaning business. Cindy now has nine employees in her Eagan, Minnesota, office, and 75 franchisees throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.

Photos by Bob Lewis of Pro Color Photography

Though there are many industrial cleaning companies in the market, flexibility and responsiveness make Vanguard franchisees different. When a customer has an emergency, for example, he/she can call the franchise owner directly without needing to go through Cindy first. That means the customer can talk directly to the person who does the cleaning – an advantage that seems obvious, but is far from standard in the cleaning industry.

The people who purchase franchisee licenses are from many different backgrounds. There are immigrants, blue collar workers, office workers, and people from all walks of life who run their own business. Cindy takes new business owners through certification programs, explains how to work with Vanguard, and helps them learn how to communicate with customers. Vanguard even helps new franchisees locate customers. Franchisees can then take it as far as they desire – commercial cleaning can complement a day job, or it can become an all-encompassing enterprise if the franchisee puts in the work and does things the right way.

“When a franchisee succeeds, I am always happy because it’s so rewarding. I feel like I played a role in helping that person live the American dream of business ownership,” Cindy says.

About the Alerus Relationship

Cindy was a Private Bank Minnesota customer for years, and then became an Alerus customer when Private Bank was purchased by Alerus in the spring of 2014. “I was skeptical at first,” she says about the transition, “but after a few minor bumps I decided to stay with Alerus because of my relationships with Konya Ives and Gewan Madoo.” Both Konya and Gewan were Private Bank employees who had worked with Cindy in the past.

“Konya is so easy to work with – she checks in regularly without being overbearing, and she knows my business. And Gewan might be one of the friendliest people I’ve met anywhere,” Cindy says about her two favorite Alerus employees.

She would encourage business owners to consider banking with Alerus because “they make it easy. The people make things easy, the online banking system is smooth, and as a business owner you don’t have a lot of time to wait on the phone or deal with making multiple phone calls like you sometimes have to do with the big banks,” Cindy explains.

Getting in Touch With Vanguard Cleaning of Minnesota

Whether you are searching for a cleaning service for a commercial space or you are interested in becoming an owner/franchisee of your own cleaning company, Cindy is ready to talk to you. You can reach her office in Eagan, Minnesota, by calling 651.379.4000 or visit the Vanguard website for more information.

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