in The News

Dammel Cleaning: A Sunshine WMBE Partner Since 2001

David Melendez spent nearly 30 years in the banking industry in both New York and Miami before he decided he needed a change. “Banking was becoming like Pacman, everyone was buying everyone else and there was nowhere to hide,” said the former compliance officer.

Knowing his banking background would serve him well, he purchased a residential cleaning franchise, as the entry fee was more attainable than a restaurant or other franchise opportunity. The home cleaning business, however, was more challenging than expected, including clients stealing cleaners they liked. Noticing a call for vendors from Palm Beach County, Melendez did the work to become a certified WMBE (Women and Minority Business Enterprise) in order to qualify to be part of larger contracts.

His inquiry led him to meet Sunshine Founder Larry Calufetti, who immediately took Melendez under his wing. “Larry had such an open heart. He took my tiny business and lifted me up,” he recalled. “He even paid me every two weeks, knowing that making payroll in those days was a challenge.”

That relationship, explained Melendez, led to his learning the commercial side of the janitorial business, expanding into new service lines, and growing his company. “Partnering with Sunshine has been so much more than just getting a piece of large contracts,” he said. “The leaders at Sunshine truly share their expertise. Over the past 22 years, I’ve learned about customer service, technology, team building and so much more.”

Teaming up with Sunshine, he added, has also led to more credibility for his own business. “We do work for the business offices at the airport, but at first they were skeptical of us, not knowing if they could trust us,” he explained. “Once Randy Kierce, Sunshine VP, told them, ‘he’s part of us,’ they trusted us.”

Today Melendez’s company employs nearly 80 people and continues to grow throughout Palm Beach and Broward Counties. His daughter, Ashley, recently joined as the company’s office manager. He also continues to work with Sunshine on many contracts, including the new one with Broward County, where his team will be helping with work at the new Broward County courthouse building.

Grateful for the support he’s received over the years, he encourages other small businesses to “wade through the process” and become WMBE certified. “Do it right away,” he said. “It opens so many doors and is well worth the time and effort.”