In 2016, Gary Bertch told the 800 employees of the Bertch Cabinet manufacturer that if they met certain goals for the year, each person would be rewarded with a cruise. The workers rose to the challenge, and next week, they're trading in the cold weather of Waterloo, Iowa, for the warmth of the Caribbean.
"We finally got into the black again last year after we made it through the recession," Bertch told The Associated Press. The company was founded in 1977, and at its peak employed 1,000 people. Recovery from the economic downturn has been "very slow" in the cabinet industry, Bertch said, but things seem to be moving in the right direction. "We were anticipating we'd have better sales again this year," he said. "We just tried to get all of our people pumped up a little more to achieve the various goals, both customer-oriented goals and financial goals."