If cleanliness is next to godliness, then Naomi Scales and Marilyn J. Jordan must be blessed. In 2006, the Houston-based couple founded MarFran Cleaning, LLC., a business that offers janitorial services both locally and nationally.
“Although we specialize in full-service janitorial cleaning for both commercial and government facilities, we also offer building maintenance and management services,” they explain.
“She took my breath away the first time I saw her. I knew it was love when I realized that
the feeling I had at 14 years old never went away when I saw her again at 20 years old.”
Scales primarily handles contracting, business development, and workplace compliance issues. Jordan handles MarFran’s management and human-resources tasks in addition to her work as a NASA analyst.
Scales and Jordan, who are both 56-year-olds from Helena, Arkansas, met through family connections as young teens, years before they became best friends and business partners.
“She took my breath away the first time I saw her,” Scales admits. “I knew it was love when I realized that the feeling I had at 14 years old never went away when I saw her again at 20 years old.”
Although Scales was raised in Chicago, her family later returned to Arkansas, where she attended the University of Central Arkansas after transferring from Bishop College. At UCA, she reconnected with Jordan, who had transferred there from Spelman College in Atlanta. Their romantic relationship blossomed in 1985 and progressed to the next level in 1990.
Scales served in the military and worked for the U.S. Postal Service for a combined 21 years, while Jordan has worked as a government contractor for over 25 years. The couple eventually realized that they simply weren’t making enough to support their family. “The painful reality came when my mom took ill and needed care,” Scales remembers. “I needed to work on my dream of being a business owner if I wanted to make things better for our family.”
Now that MarFran Cleaning has become successful, Naomi says they’re working smarter, making more, and loving every minute of it. And according to Naomi, most of their customers and employees are pleased that the women are always available when problems arise. “We do good work, and our employees know we care about them,” Naomi says.
Marilyn’s work motto is “Our job is not complete if the customer is not satisfied.” She adds that the appreciation they’ve received from satisfied customers motivates her and Naomi to continue doing more for their community.
The pair says their business has been doing well despite the pandemic restrictions. “We have survived during this pandemic because of the nature of our business. We have expanded our services, and I am working on turning [the business] over to our children as we both plan for our second careers.”
As for the future, the couple is excited about the book they have been writing. “This book is our official coming-out story to our friends. It is about the burden we carried as two Black women from the South who are now ‘women of a certain age.’ A large portion of our life has been in the closet, and filled with lies [that we told] to survive,” Naomi explains. They hope that by sharing their story, they will help others who are facing similar challenges.
For more information on MarFran Cleaning, LLC, visit marfrancleaning.com.
This article appears in the February 2021 edition of OutSmart magazine.