Polishing up for the Convention

Polishing up for the ConventionKarin Connelly RiceFresh Water Cleveland

While in high school 1994 in Bay Village, Grant Alexander found extra cash by starting a car detailing business out of his parent’s garage. He continued the gig through his college years and, as business increased, Alexander knew he had found his niche.

GK’s Custom Polishing was officially established in 2001, offering car, motorcycle and watercraft detailing, transportation and storage. Then one day his father suggested Alexander get into stonework.

“Detailing in Cleveland is kind of an eight-months-of-the-year gig,” Alexander said. “I was looking for something to do in the winter.”

Alexander found that something in hard surface polishing -- cleaning everything from natural stone and marble to tile and grout. In 2002, GK’s had a new division of the company.

Today, GK’s cares for the hard surfaces in most Downtown Cleveland hotels -- from the polishing and sealing marble floors in lobbies to cleaning and polishing the tile and grout in bathrooms.

When the owners of the Drury Plaza Hotel began converting the old Cleveland Board of Education building into an upscale hotel, they called Alexander. “It was an old city building and they had marble floors everywhere,” he recalled of the job. “It was a three-month project with tons of marble. You don’t just go in and restore a commercial building overnight.”

With the Republican National Convention just weeks away, Alexander is busier than usual, making sure the Downtown hotels where visitors will be staying sparkle and shine. While as much as 75 percent of his commercial work is from recurring contracts with places like Marriott, Westin and Renaissance, Alexander anticipated his clients would want some extra work both before and after the Convention.

“We sent letters to all of our commercial contracts three to four months ago to start preparing for additional work,” Alexander explained, adding that the more foot traffic the hotels get, the more the floors have to be care for. Alexander also signed up GK's for the Host Committee's Supplier Guide for more visibility.

Alexander’s clients started calling for hard surface work almost immediately, and they will keep calling after the Convention is over and visitors are long gone.

"It's good for the front end, since our contract clients called us months ago and needed a lot of additional work,” Alexander said. “It’s good on the back end because there’s so much traffic.”

In fact, GK’s Custom Polishing’s 30 employees will be working through most of the year. “Business is up 30 percent over the course of the year,” Alexander estimated.