Local lady talks a lot of trash in new business

:Lesley Isenman is a living example of the old idiom, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."

The former Chadds Ford resident moved out of the area to work in first California and then Georgia before returning just a few years ago.

Now living in East Marlborough Township, the mother of three said she is in her glory being back home ... except for one little thing.

Isenman wanted her trash picked up at her doorstep.

"To heck with that curbside stuff," she said.

Now a stay-at-home mom with three daughters, Isenberg said she was looking for a little of the customer service she was accustomed to growing up in Chester County as a kid.

"In Chadds Ford, the gentleman came down your driveway," she said. "Often times you wouldn't even keep the garbage in the garage - you'd keep it outside."

At that point, Isenman said, she started calling the "big boys" in the local trash service industry and was told repeatedly that they no longer provide door-to-truck service.

As she tried to negotiate for the service, Isenman said she met with obstacle after obstacle.

"One company said we can't turn our trucks around. One said we don't have the insurance that allows us onto your property," she said. "I said I'll pay double, they said can't do it."

Still in search of what she called that "old school customer service," Isenberg said when she was given "driver laziness" as an excuse not to pick up at the door, she came to an inevitable conclusion.

"At that point, I went to my husband and said, 'I'm starting a business,'" Isenman said. "When I told him what kind, he said, "Well honey, that's going to be a problem - you don't even like doing the dishes!'"

Donning what would become her trademark gear - bright green and hot pink, with pearls as an accessory - Isenberg set out to learn the ins and outs of both running a small business and of a new career in the refuse industry.

Soon, the Trash Talking Ladies was born.

As she began to market her business, Isenman said she was surprised at the types of people who were interested in the service, particularly elderly citizens on a fixed income.

"We thought at first it would be people with long driveways, but we have clients who don't even have paved driveways or garages," she said. "And it's amazing that folks on fixed incomes with no extra money are interested in this service."

She also found that she was either laughing or crying much of the time when dealing with her new clients.

One incident involving an injured woman and an unopened bottle of Excedrin had Isenberg sobbing in her client's driveway, she said, leaving her to offer her services at any time to the older woman.

"I said to her, 'I live 10 minutes down the road - call me anytime,'" she said.

She's also encountered all manner of things disgusting, from runny bags to things best left unmentioned, and has compounded the problem with a simple human reflex.

"I'm a smeller," Isenman said. "But I'm quickly learning not to."

But the smells aren't the hardest thing she has to manage in her new career - it's the lifting, much of which she does either in her own or with a single helper.

"Although I'm getting better at it," she said, rolling up her sleeves to reveal a new set of biceps.

Currently, Isenman has one truck - a small dump truck borrowed from her friends at Mr. Mulch in Penn Township that doesn't require a CDL - but she envisions a fleet of hot pink trucks one day at her command.

That's still a ways down the lane, however, as she still has just under 100 clients.

"I want to grow and expand. I want the contracts for the 55-and-up communities," she said. "I'm even trying to branch out in New Castle County in Delaware."

It's hard work - sometimes harder than she first expected - but Isenberg said she loves it and the people she's met along the way.

"If we hit it big tomorrow, and I had the full-time staff and my fleet of trucks, I'd still be out there one day a week, servicing my clients, giving them that little extra luxury," she said. "That's what I'm about. Like I said, I'm old school."

To learn more about the Trash Talking Ladies, visit on the Web at www.trashtalkingladies.com or call 610-444-4242.

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