In the world of business, adjectives like tough, hardhitting, profitable and shrewd are often used.
But if you dig deeper, you can find others -- like caring, neighborly and giving back.
Take a look at Mr. Spiffy Cleaning, for example.
The Anna Maria Island cleaning service has been around only since November when the husband and wife owners Adam and Emily Holwerda decided to move to the island of their dreams and start a residential branch of their commercial cleaning service in Fort Wayne, Ind.
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During the transition, the Holwerdas met a woman connected with Cleaning for a Reason, a nonprofit organization out of Texas that connects cancer patients with cleaning service companies all over the U.S. and Canada. The cleaners agree to provide the patients with free cleaning for a limited time.
The Holwerdas jumped at the idea.
“We’ve had cancer in our family, so we know what it’s like for people going through it,” Emily Holwerda said. “And we thought it was a great way to give back to the community.”
Emily’s grandmother died of colon cancer and Adam’s aunt is still battling breast cancer.
So, although the couple has only had their local business operating for eight months, there are 10 cancer patients who are now getting their homes cleaned once a month, thanks to the couple.
Cancer patients are offered four months free cleaning and then, if they decide to continue, they receive a discounted rate, Emily said.
The Holwerdas aren’t the only local cleaners with a heart of gold.
Mary Humphrey, KDJ Cleaning Services in Palmetto, signed up her 6-year-old business with the foundation last year. She, too, has had family who have battled cancer.
Deborah Cassidy with Clean as a Whistle in Bradenton was the first local company involved in Cleaning with a Purpose in 2009. She had a good friend who died of the disease and knew what a benefit it would be for patients to get a clean home and peace of mind.
The nonprofit, which started in 2007, gets about 325 calls a month and has around 600 cleaning companies as partners.
The Holwerdas have picked up regular clients as a result of the cleaning connection and say the giving back is a two-way street.
One call that Adam received from a caregiver of a cancer patient made him realize how much their service means to everyone involved.
“She said it really took the pressure off of her,” he said. “I hadn’t thought about that side of it.”
Humphrey isn’t content to just help cancer patients. She’s also hoping to work with Cleaning for Heros, a nonprofit that provides free cleaning and home repair for disabled and elderly military veterans.
“I want to give back to the community, I like helping people,” she said.
Jennifer Rich, Herald business editor, can be reached at 745-7087.