Chem-Dry, One of Nation's Top Green Franchise Systems, Adds Office
World’s largest carpet cleaner opens office in Nashville’s LEED-certified Gulch community
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chem-Dry is a franchise brand that’s always been committed to environmentally safe products, from the moment founder Robert Harris marveled at a flight attendant’s use of carbonated soda water to remove a stain from his shirt more than 35 years ago. The commitment — exemplified by the company’s patented “green” carbonated cleaning solution, The Natural® — has never wavered.
So it’s no surprise that when executives at Chem-Dry — the world’s largest carpet and upholstery cleaner, with more than 3,500 units — decided they wanted to open a regional office in Nashville, Tenn., they chose a prime spot in one of the nation’s premier green urban developments.
Chem-Dry’s parent company, Harris Research, Inc., moved in late June into its new offices, occupying 8,500 square feet in a renovated electric company warehouse. The Braid Building is a cornerstone of The Gulch, a mixed-use urban community near downtown with housing, retail shops, restaurants and 1.5 million square feet of leasable office space.
“We like to say that Chem-Dry was green when green was just a color,” said Dan Tarantin, Harris Research’s president and CEO. “We wanted our new regional office to signify more than just our business growth — we wanted to make sure it fit our longstanding commitment to sustainable practices and development.
“It’s a marvelous old building with tremendous character, easily accessible to downtown and midtown and it’s sustainable, too. Our new Nashville office, complemented by our existing facility in Logan, Utah, gives us strong western and eastern bases from which to support our franchise owners and fits our goal of being an environmentally friendly organization.”
The Gulch, developed jointly by the city and the Nashville real estate development firm MarketStreet Enterprises, was designed along the principles of new urbanism, which stresses connectivity, walkability, diversity and environmentally sound building and transportation. In 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council presented The Gulch with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) designation — the first in the South and only the 13th in the world.
The development meshed perfectly with one of Chem-Dry’s founding principles. Since its founding in 1977, Chem-Dry has embraced all-natural cleaning agents and processes, steering clear of harmful chemicals and steam-cleaning practices that saturate carpet and can breed mold and mildew.
While Chem-Dry is the nation’s leading carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise system, its strongest concentration is in the West. With its sights set on expanding its franchise base east of the Mississippi, the company’s new Nashville location is easily accessible to the Deep South, Midwest, East Coast and Northeast and will enable it to better support the needs of its growing network.
In opening up its Nashville office, Harris Research has created over 20 new jobs and moved some of its executives as well as its finance and accounting, franchise development and marketing functions to Nashville. About 50 Harris Research employees still work at the Logan headquarters, mainly in franchise support, training, manufacturing and research and development.
“Our new Nashville office positions us to reach more talented, driven entrepreneurs in search of a great investment opportunity and to better support our expanding network of franchise owners in the start-up and growth of their business,” said Bill Knight, Chem-Dry’s vice president of franchise development. “Setting up shop in a LEED-certified community like The Gulch also helps reinforce the message that we’re serious about doing business the right way.”
Recently, Harris Research added several management team members to work in the Nashville office:
• Kim Falcone, franchise development director, brings close to 15 years of experience in real estate and franchising businesses, most recently in the role of franchise development manager for Tasti D-Lite.
• Dwayne Greer, franchise development director, has spent more than two decades in franchise development with well-known food and service businesses, including Baskin-Robbins and The Dwyer Group.
• Paige Hamilton, controller, has over 10 years of experience in accounting positions, most recently with SouthComm Communications and Plumgood Food.
• David Newman, chief financial officer, brings more than 20 years of experience in financial management roles, most recently as senior vice president of finance for Direct General Insurance.
• Melanie Parker, director of franchise administration, brings more than 18 years of experience in franchise operations and administration, most at the ServiceMaster family of brands.
• Bill Zinke, vice president of marketing, has more than 20 years of consumer marketing experience in packaged goods and franchised businesses, most recently serving as chief marketing officer for Tasti D-Lite.