Longtime Yale Expert Retiring After 35 Years
35 years ago, a country girl from Oklahoma City moved to Tulsa looking for a fresh start. Lenda Schoemann had been working at her family’s dry cleaner since she was a young teen. So, when she received a call from then President, Bill Rothrock of Yale Cleaners offering her a job, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Little did she know at that time, she would not only find a career at Yale Cleaners, she would find that fresh start and more.
Lenda Schoemann started out as a customer service representative. She quickly grew within the company, learning to press clothes and remove stains. It wasn’t long before Lenda was promoted to store manager. Lenda said, “I remember my store well, my staff, and my customers, we were all very close”. She went on to say, “many of my first customers still trade with us today.” A fact of which she is very proud.
Ms. Schoemann was a quick study too. She became so proficient at her job, she was asked to help other store managers. Lenda said, “I remember when Bill would call me and ask me to go help fix problems in other stores or train a new employee.” Lenda was already leaving her mark on Yale Cleaners.
After three short years, it became very apparent to Bill Rothrock that Lenda’s talent and abilities would be better utilized in a bigger role at Yale Cleaners. So, he asked Lenda to become Yale’s new District Manager. “At first I wasn’t sure about the responsibility, but Bill encouraged me, and knew I was perfect for the position,” said Lenda
Becoming the district manager was a big promotion, and Lenda really excelled in her new leadership role. She quickly began helping implement the company’s new same day service promise at every location. Lenda moved from one challenge to the next. Bill Rothrock said, “she is an important part of the Yale Cleaners family, she really helped build the company and took great care of our customers and team members. “Yale Cleaners just wouldn’t look the same without all of her hard work and efforts.”
Over the years, Lenda became known for being a “mom” to Yale’s team members. She began recognizing every team member on each big holiday with a big bag of candy or a homemade treat. She worked tirelessly to keep a fun family work environment for all team members, while ensuring Yale Cleaners’ high standards.
When asking Lenda why she stayed at Yale Cleaners for so many years, she was quick to reply, “The Rothrock’s are my family. You could always count on them and I always felt supported.”
She continued by saying, “I also really loved the work, I tried office jobs, but sitting all day just wasn’t for me.”
It’s easy to feel her sense of pride when she speaks about the Rothrock family. She proudly proclaimed having the honor of training current President, John Rothrock and teaching him what it takes to run a dry cleaning store. She thinks John is very smart and doing a great job transitioning Yale Cleaners into a more digital company. Lenda remains hopeful for Yale’s future and knows she has helped to build this amazing company.
As Lenda reminisced over the past 35 years, she seemed to be filled with stories that were funny, caring and helpful. The funniest thing she said she did, was many years ago. While pressing shirts, she came across a men’s white button down shirt with a missing button. Only this shirt happened to be Bill Rothrock’s. She decided as a joke, to replace the missing white button with a bright red one. Thinking he would find it, laugh, and the she would change it out for a matching one. Only, Bill packed the shirt and left town for a dry cleaning meeting. Having no other choice, Bill ended up wearing his white shirt with the red button for everyone to see. She chuckled, indicating she couldn’t help but laugh at Bill’s predicament.
When I asked Lenda what she was going to miss most about Yale Cleaners, she choked up and said, “I feel like I’m leaving my family, and I’m still not sure what I am going to do everyday. I still feel the need to check in constantly.” At the same time, she is excited to have the freedom and time to spend with her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter living in Iowa. Lenda also says she still wants to come help out for special events like Yale’s Coats for Kids project.
Yale Cleaners thanks Lenda for 35 years of outstanding service to our community. Each day she has strived to make Yale a better place. We appreciate all of her hard work and wish her the very best as she starts this new chapter in her life. Lenda has made a tremendous impact on Yale Cleaners and she will be greatly missed.
Please feel free to comment with a story or memory you have of Lenda through the past 35 years or share your best wishes.
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