STINSON BEACH − While professional success is often the result of a deliberate venture, in some cases, it develops as a natural outgrowth of a prior occupation. For Milton Gooden, it was a job showing vacation homes for a realty company that served as a springboard to an entrepreneurial enterprise. “I saw that the company I worked for was spending a lot of money to have the rental homes professionally cleaned, so I offered to start doing it on the side,” he remembers. “It wasn’t long before I assembled a small crew. People who were renting the vacation homes started asking us to do their private homes as well, and things just continued to progress from there.”
Even after he’d expanded into cleaning private residences, Milton wasn’t satisfied to stop there. “Once we established our house cleaning operation, I started getting into the janitorial side of the business, which I’d had some prior experience in,” he says. “Additionally, we started getting a lot of requests for carpet and window cleaning, so I decided to add a division to handle those needs as well. Before I knew it, Good & Clean Co. Inc. had grown from a small, single-team operation to a company with 36 employees.”
Originally from New Orleans, Milton first came to the Bay Area while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, and he liked it so much that he decided to stay. Having settled in Corte Madera—where he lives with his wife, Lucenita—Milton says he appreciates the enlightened lifestyle that characterizes his adopted locale. “Besides the weather, I really like the healthy living here. Since I was raised in an area where fatty foods are dietary staples, it’s refreshing to be in a cultural climate that encourages good health.”
Outside of work, Milton participates in a variety of pastimes, including basketball, fitness and chess. “I love basketball—I used to coach, and I play at least three times a week,” he says. “I work out on the days that I don’t play basketball, so every day of the week I’m exercising in one form or another.” In addition to his personal hobbies, Milton takes time to keep up with his three grown children, Jeremy (who works alongside him as office manager), Joanne and Cedric.
In regard to his professional career, Milton says one of the most crucial ingredients of his success has been keeping his employees happy. “It’s commonly said that the client comes first, but I think taking care of your employees is equally important, because without a great staff, you won’t have any clients. Plus, in this industry, if your employees aren’t happy, they’ll leave and start their own businesses. I have people who have been with me since day one, because they’re made to feel like a part of the company rather than just employees.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Milton says he’d relocate to Brazil. “That’s where my wife is from, and we go down there to visit her family at least once a year. Over my many visits, I’ve developed a fondness for the Brazilian people and culture…not to mention the food!”