Solving a mystery to build a team; cleaning up for cancer; helping hoarders
Lisa Grace Marr
Exit Strategy’s owners Cassie Hamilton and Chris Moning think driving your employees crazy trying to solve a mystery is a good way to build a sound corporate team.
It can also make or break friendships and families — try it if you dare.
So they set up shop in an industrial building on Northside Road in Burlington with two rooms with locked doors — where the customers are locked in until they find enough clues that help them locate the key to get out.
A while ago the couple went to an escape-room place in Kitchener with friends and had a blast.
“We couldn’t stop talking about it,” said Hamilton. “So we thought why don’t we start a business offering the same in Burlington?”
But on top of that, they decided to build theme rooms, something they haven’t seen other companies doing.
“We’ve created an entire back story to the whole room,” said Moning. “It makes it a lot more interesting.”
Groups of up to six people have 45 minutes to solve the mystery and find a way out. It takes enormous collaboration on the part of the participants. Does everyone solve the puzzle?
“No. It’s trickier than you think.”
For Ryan and Lisa Stewart, Hamilton and the house they bought have loads of sex appeal.
So much so that they uprooted their family just before Christmas in 2011 and launched their business Posh House Cleaning Maid Service a couple of weeks later in 2012.
“We just rolled the dice,” said Ryan. “Even now (running a business) is scary.”
The cleaning business started for Lisa as a part-time gig when the kids went to school and they were still living in Brampton. But it started to grow.
Now, Posh has 15 staff and has developed a sophisticated dispatch system and training program to deliver superior customer service.
That came after hiring a U.S. consultant they found on social media (Ryan’s background is in graphic design), a move they credit for their success.
They’re the only cleaning service they know of in Hamilton that’s a member of the non-profit Cleaning for a Reason. Members offer free cleaning services for women undergoing cancer treatment for a minimum of two hours for four months.
“We go above and beyond that usually,” said Ryan. “We pay a fee to belong (to the charity). It’s a good relationship.”
Sarah Warner would like to go to more hoarders’ homes to clean.
No, she hasn’t lost her mind. She’s the manager of environmental response at Medic Services, a company started by Pat Lannigan a few years
Medic Services offers paramedic and rescue training services to factories or event organizers who need medical personnel standing by during high-risk activities.
Private medical services is a cool enough gig, but then Warner joined about four years ago to tackle biohazard jobs as a way to diversify.
Asbestos and mould removal in residences and industries are key staples to that side of the business, but the other request she gets is for post-accident, crime or trauma cleanups and for hoarders’ homes.
“Usually a bank has foreclosed on a home and the property management company needs someone to go in and clean up,” she said. “It’s gross but it’s also fascinating.”
The Hamilton Spectator