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Iowa cabinet company taking all 800-plus employees on a Caribbean cruise

By
Ben Hooper

WATERLOO, Iowa, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- An Iowa manufacturing company's president announced he is taking all of his employees -- more than 800 people -- on a week-long Caribbean cruise.

Gary Bertch, president and co-founder of Bertch Cabinet in Waterloo, told workers earlier this month that he would be taking them all on a cruise, which features a stop on the Mexican island of Cozumel, as a reward for meeting the company's goals for the year.

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"Bertch is excited to announce a company wide vacation!" an announcement on the company's Facebook page reads. "We will be closing all facilities January 9-13 so we can set sails for the sunny Caribbean! This trip wouldn't be possible without the hard work of our incredible Bertch associates! Happy Holidays, everyone!"

Berch said the trip will also include a night at a five-star hotel.

"We leave Jan. 8," he told The Courier newspaper. "We've got four charter aircraft that will be flying directly to Miami Sunday and staying at a nice five-star hotel. Then on Monday, we'll bus over from the hotel to the port and load up on the ship."

Bertch said the company has taken its employees on cruises before, but not since 2005.

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"We finally got into the black again last year after we made it though the recession" that began in 2008, he said.

"We're happy we were able to achieve our goals. And they're never easy. The financial goal was the big one," he said. "We hit the other goals. Not by much. But we hit them. We're looking forward to the following year."

He said the group will be taking a Carnival cruise line boat.

"They're a fun ship. And if anyone knows our crowd, they like to have fun. The first time we had them we ran them out of beer. We've learned they stocked extra for our trip this time so we don't run out," Bertch said.

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