Rolling out the red carpet

Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino sits in the heart of central California’s San Joaquin Valley, positioned directly between L.A. and San Francisco. In addition to the expansive hotel and casino, Tachi Palace boasts a new entertainment center and countless luxury experiences, and it continues to expand rapidly. As with all properties that have a lot of foot traffic—including party heels and dusty boots—casinos have unique maintenance challenges. What happens at Tachi Palace stays behind on the floors and in the bathrooms, long after guests have left. Early on, Tachi Palace realized this was a job for Ernest Packaging Solutions.

tachi palace
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tachi palace

Upping the ante

Tachi Palace, owned by the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribe, began in 1983 as a bingo hall. After a massive expansion in 2005 and the addition of the hotel in 2006, the property became the Tachi Palace it is today. The property offers guests a beloved casino, impressive accommodations, live entertainment, a movie theater with eight screens, a bowling alley, pool room, five restaurants, a spa, and a fitness center, all of which need to be cleaned and maintained.

For more than 25 years, Tachi Palace has counted on Ernest Packaging Solutions to provide a wide range of janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) supplies and support. For Tachi and Ernest, that family feeling goes both ways.

As Tachi Palace’s growth increased, so did its challenges. With more guests and more space to clean, they began witnessing toilet paper heists, juggling too many vendors, and dealing with outdated machinery and waste. Ernest jumped in headfirst to help.

In addition to automating systems and express delivering products, Ernest worked closely with staff to improve their processes, helped manage the company’s JanSan vendors, and provided Tachi with opportunities to learn more about the latest in the industry. Nick Ochinero, the Ernest Client Relationship Manager for Tachi Palace’s longstanding relationship with the owners and staff has been a key factor in the success of their teamwork.

For Janette Becerra, Manager of Environmental Services at Tachi Palace, Ochinero is like Danny Ocean. He helps her team put together the best plan for lifting dirt and grime, without ever interfering with the guest experience. While the JanSan business isn’t always sexy, watching the Ernest ideas, products, and services help transform the Palace is compelling.

Taking care of business

Most recently for Tachi Palace, the number one issue to tackle was the bathrooms. Ernest started by helping find ways to reduce the water use (a key concern in the Central Valley) that the urinals used. Tachi Palace was recycling the water, so there was already less waste, but Ernest had an idea for ways to take things a step further. They partnered with Betco and made Tachi Palace the first casino to install an autoflow waterless system. In addition to lowering water costs for Tachi, the waterless urinals showed guests that Tachi is conscientious and helped to increase trust.

Everyone knows that casinos need high security, but Tachi had a unique challenge. As more people came in and out of the Palace, toilet paper was disappearing at an unsettling rate. People — perhaps frustrated at the blackjack table — were bringing in duffel bags to clear out the house of all visible toilet paper. Ernest sat down with Tachi for a brainstorm and proper cost analysis of the toilet paper options. The team decided to replace the quad unit dispenser that featured visible full toilet paper rolls with a soft pull dispenser that patrons pull from the dispenser like a tissue. This simple improvement saved Tachi Palace thousands of dollars in damage and toilet paper loss.

Tachi Palace also had a problem with seat covers that did not dispense effectively and backed up toilets. Ernest replaced them with higher quality Neat seat covers that have a lever to dispense them one by one. This created less waste, fewer backups, and reduced costs for Tachi. For an additional sparkle and further savings, Ernest improved the hand-washing process by installing automated hand towel dispensers and Gojo soap dispensers under the counters.

Odor was the final obstacle. In addition to the obvious sources, it can build up through grout and drains. Ernest began to surveil weak spots and perform evaluations, removing odors for good.

Protecting the house

It was important to Ernest to improve not only the sanitation process, but also to protect Tachi employees. Tachi uses four different chemicals to clean the floors, machines, and restrooms. Employees initially had to free-pour the chemicals, which put them at risk of chemical burns or splashes. Ernest installed a Chemco dispensing system so that the chemicals could be monitored, employees could remain safe, and portions could be consistent for each use. The system ensures consistent finishing quality and reduces expenses now that the chemicals are released in controlled amounts. Ernest also maintains all the SDS sheets for the system.

Beautiful from the inside out

Tachi Palace was built with beautiful natural stone, and the entrance features an enormous rock wall that carries into the interior. However, the shine was hidden under California dust and guests’ tobacco smoke. Tachi Palace knew it needed to change something about the appearance but didn’t know where to begin. Whatever they used would have to blend in and protect the expensive stone at the same time. Ernest found a solution to clean the stone and bring it back to its original appearance, and they covered it with a sealant that brightened it further and prevented it from discoloring later. Ernest successfully preserved the legacy of the natural stone, and showed Tachi employees how to maintain it.

Thinking two plays ahead

Ernest is not a one and done company, and part of our commitment to full service is ensuring long-term maintenance, including the right supplies, systems, and training. Ernest began providing Tachi with equipment for specialized cleaning, including carpet extraction, sanitizing, and refinishing, and delivered it in a timely manner based on Tachi’s specific growth needs. “In some of the transition while growing, they needed product on demand,” says Ochinero. “We went out and delivered it to them within hours of their ordering.”

When Tachi Palace faced a challenge cleaning ceiling fixtures safely, Ernest had the answer. The team introduced a specialized, round, rolling vacuum with a name that gives the cleaning crew a chuckle — the Pig. It holds a lot of dust, resembles its namesake, and allows Tachi employees to dust in high places without needing a lift. Ernest provided the machine and the training that allowed Tachi employees to make the best use of it — even conducting training in the middle of the night when cleaning crews were on the floor in full force.

Betting on the future

As a long-term partner, Ernest always wants to make sure that Tachi Palace has the latest and greatest solutions for the Environmental Services team. Recently, Nick invited Janette and another Tachi Palace team member to join him for the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo in Las Vegas. This gave the Tachi Palace team the opportunity to tap into a larger universe of solutions and look at different products.

As the casino continues to explore eco-friendly initiatives, this broader exposure to new possibilities was critical. Becerra has plans to go to the Chumash tribe to try and spearhead a larger recycling initiative and is working closely with Ernest on all her ideas. “They cut my footwork in half,” notes Becerra. Together, the Tachi Palace Environmental Services group and their Ernest counterparts are a winning team.

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