And if you missed a news story, check our News Archive for the top stories.

Be sure to visit People in the News and Product News while you’re catching up on all the latest. And be sure to check out our new JOB SPACE page if you are looking for a job or a qualified employee!


JUNE 2024 NEWS

Preserve a Gown, Plant a Tree

Association of Wedding Gown Specialists joins forces with Arbor Day Foundation.

The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS) announced that wedding couples can now ensure the beauty of their gowns and help safeguard the planet’s beauty, too.

AWGS has established a ReforestationFund (TM) and will help provide support to the Arbor Day Foundation, to help make a positive impact and celebrate a couple’s wedding by planting a tree for every gown its members preserve. Trees will be planted in a forest of great need. Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest member nonprofit dedicated to planting trees. Together with their members, partners, and programs, they have helped plant more than 500 million trees in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world.

AWGS is proud of its long-time eco-friendly commitment. President Kyle Matthews of Janet Davis Cleaners in Berkley, Michigan, noted, “Our Association was the first to try to calculate the carbon footprint of cleaning and preserving the wedding gown, from travel to and from one of our members, to the cleaning of the gown, and the manufacture of the wedding chest to preserve the gown. In 2009 we began funding reforestation projects worldwide, and our MuseumCareTM preservations are unique with regard to our commitment to the environment.”

Established in 1987, AWGS, a not-for-profit trade association with members in nine countries, is a network of cleaners who specialize in the meticulous care of wedding gowns, specialty garments, and other fine fabrics.  Members share a common vision: to elevate their brands and become the trusted dry cleaners in their respective communities. Members also understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with handling delicate and cherished items such as wedding gowns and other luxury garments and cherished heirlooms. The Association’s mission is to empower members with the knowledge, resources, and support needed to excel in this specialized field. However, the preservation guarantee is truly an international warranty because each member honors the guarantee of every other member no matter where in the world they may be.

The organization’s trademarked MuseumCareTM preservations are endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants (the professional organization dedicated to wedding planners and professionals worldwide) and are also recommended by many designers and manufacturers.

For more information about training and membership, go to www.WeddingGownSpecialists.com or to www.WeddingGownSpecialists.net.au or call the office at 800-5001-5005 or 203-415-4079.


Preparing for PFAs in Commercial Real Estate

EnviroForensics Explains PFAs — and why they matter

You may (or may not) have heard of PFAs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and the recent U.S. EPA announcement designating two PFAs compounds as hazardous substances. There’s been a lot of doom and gloom posted about PFAs recently and while their hazardous substance designation will have effects that trickle down to commercial real estate, all is not lost. Below is a quick summary of what PFAS are and some immediate effects you may see in commercial real estate beginning July 8, 2024, when two common PFAs compounds officially become hazardous substances.

WHAT ARE PFAs ?

PFAs are a group of 9,000+ chemicals developed in the 1930s used in water-resistant textiles, paper products, non-stick coatings, and cleaning products. They are found in items like shampoo, cosmetics, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant or waterproofing products, fast food packaging, paints, and pesticides. Biosolids from sewer treatment plants, used as fertilizer, and aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used for fire suppression, can also contain PFAs . Electronic manufacturing and electroplating operations use PFAs too.

PFAs breaks down slowly in the environment, easily travel through groundwater, and can bioaccumulate in humans and animals. Research links PFAs exposure to health concerns in humans and animals.

REAL ESTATE IMPLICATIONS

Until recently, PFAs were regarded as emerging contaminants and were not officially listed as CERCLA hazardous substances. Two (2) common PFAs compounds (known as PFOA and PFOS) will become CERCLA hazardous substances on July 8, 2024.  Below are four ways the hazardous substance designation of these PFAs compounds may affect commercial real estate transactions going forward.

  1. Environmental screening levels for PFAs are very low and PFAs may be found at lots of properties. Studies have shown that PFAs can cause issues at very low levels in the environment; for example, common petroleum compounds are assessed at a part-per-billion (ppb) level; PFAs compounds are assessed at a part-per-trillion (ppt) level, a thousand times lower. PFAs do not easily breakdown and can readily travel when they encounter groundwater. PFAs may be present at many properties, even if the historical or current operations may not have directly used PFAs . Types of businesses that may have PFAs impacts includes, but is not limited to laundromats, car washes, dry cleaners, airports, firefighting training facilities, electronic manufacturers, oil refineries, plastic and paper mills, landfills, metal platers, and any business where non-stick or waterproofing applications are applied.
  2. PFAs will now be a consideration in Phase I ESAs. Historically, PFAs were considered out-of-scope items for Phase I ESAs, as the ASTM standard only calls for assessing CERCLA hazardous substances and petroleum products. Beginning July 8, 2024, the PFAs compounds PFOA and PFOS will need to be assessed during Phase I ESAs.
  3. A current Phase I ESA may identify PFAs as an environmental concern at properties where historical Phase Is may have not identified environmental concerns. PFAs were used in many processes and operations that were previously not considered issues. For example, laundromats (with no dry cleaning operations) and farm fields may have environmental concerns due to PFAs , whereas they may not have had issues previously. Other facilities, such as dry cleaners or electroplating operations, may have identified environmental concerns in their past Phase I and Phase II ESAs, but those historical reports likely did not address PFAs .
  4. Cost for environmental sampling (i.e., Phase II ESAs) may increase. PFAs sampling techniques can require increased time and stringent procedures to ensure cross-contamination will not occur. Laboratories will also need to analyze PFAs samples at extremely low levels, which will likely increase analytical costs. For example, analysis of groundwater for dry cleaning compounds is roughly $80 – $100 per sample. Current groundwater analytical costs for a PFAs sample can start in the high $300s and go up from there.

The bottom line is that the impending designation of PFAs as a hazardous substance may have far-reaching effects in the environmental world; however, this does not mean the sky is falling. Property owners and prospective purchasers should be aware of these upcoming regulations and a trusted environmental consultant can help guide you through the next steps.

EnviroForensics helps business owners through environmental investigations and cleanup, often while business goes on as usual. EnviroForensics may be able to help find historical insurance to fund the investigation or connect you with third parties who can manage environmental liabilities for property owners or even purchase contaminated properties. For more information, visit the website.


TRSA Announces Buik to Receive Operator Lifetime Achievement Award

James Buik

James Buik, president and owner of the Roscoe Co., Chicago, will be honored at the 111th TRSA Annual Conference & Exchange in September with the TRSA Operator Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award pays tribute to exceptional personal service to TRSA and the industry as nominated by past linen, uniform and facility services operator award peers and voted on by the TRSA Executive Committee. Winners have supported the association for decades, devoting their own time to association activities and facilitating their employees’ involvement in TRSA. Their teams have taken advantage of a wide range of TRSA activities, including certification, in-person and virtual events, and benchmarking surveys.

Buik has been recognized for engagement in and personal leadership of TRSA and the Uniform and Textile Service Association (UTSA), which served the industry for 75 years and blended with TRSA in 2009. For TRSA, he was chair (2018–’20) and a member of the Executive Committee (2014–’22) and Board of Directors (2012–’14). For UTSA, he was chair (2005–’06) and executive (2003–’08) and a board member (1993–’95).

“I am humbled to be included on a prestigious list of previous award winners, to include my father Donald, and many industry friends and colleagues,” Buik said. “I have so many to thank, but especially my wife Teresa, who has supported and encouraged me throughout the journey.”

His dedication to furthering the industry’s best interests has been reflected in other volunteer leadership positions, as he currently chairs TRSA’s Environmental Committee and serves on the Government Relations Committee. He previously chaired the Strategic Planning Committee and was a member of the TRSA Education and UTSA Marketing Committees.

“Jim’s leadership reflects a belief we share that when any operator makes a good impression on their customers, it serves us all well,” said Jim Kearns, current TRSA board chair and COO, Alsco Uniforms, Salt Lake City. “The more you get to know him, the more you realize he really does have the industry’s best interests at heart.”

In recent years, Buik has empowered Roscoe staff to serve on four other TRSA committees, facilitated extensive Roscoe staff participation in TRSA professional-development events and led the company in earning Clean Green and Hygienically Clean Food Safety certifications.

TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci commended Buik’s hospitality to TRSA groups seeking to visit Roscoe during professional-development events such as the Production Summit and Plant Tours, Maintenance Management Institute and Next-Generation Executives Roundtable. “Jim has upheld TRSA members’ longstanding tradition to welcome industry colleagues to view their teams and machinery at work,” Ricci said. “Roscoe’s company motto is ‘Take Pride.’ Jim and the Roscoe staff enjoy these opportunities to demonstrate their performance excellence. They realize the benefits of hosting a plant tour, including building teamwork and boosting morale by putting a local team on a national stage.”

The award presentation will take place during a Sept. 26 dinner at the TRSA Annual Conference & Exchange, Sept. 24-26, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. At the event, Buik will join 38 past recipients who have received the award since its 1982 inception.


MAY 2024 NEWS

TRSA Annual HR, Health, and Safety Summit Empowers Professionals

Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) recently concluded its annual HR, Health, and Safety Summit in Milwaukee. Professionals from both human resources and health and safety fields gathered for a day of intensive professional development, aimed at enhancing their skills and knowledge. The event featured educational sessions tailored to each field.

Mental Health and Workplace Well-Being

The summit kicked off with a welcome session led by Joyce Marter, mental health thought leader and author of The Financial Mindset Fix. Marter conducted a “mental triage” for the workplace, emphasizing the benefits of positive mental health practices. Attendees learned how fostering a supportive environment positively impacts retention, productivity and overall morale. Practical tools and resources were provided to address mental health challenges, ultimately reducing accidents, injuries and healthcare costs. Attendees also received complimentary copies of Marter’s book.

Will Maness of Alsco Uniforms commented that all the material presented in the keynote was extremely applicable to their day-to-day operations. He added, “It was a great mixture of material presented, as well as the opportunity for group discussion.”

HR Track: Legal Updates and Employee Retention

In the HR track, Jason Keck, partner at Fisher Phillips, discussed critical updates to HR laws for 2024. Attendees gained insights into legal best practices to mitigate workplace risks. Katie Cosgrove, partner at Cosgrove Partners, focused on retaining and developing employees, addressing generational gaps and cultural challenges. Kortney Overzet, VP of people development and culture at Spindle, shared strategies for employee retention, including recognition programs and the innovative “Work Human” platform. Lori Stanger, VP of people and culture at Wildman Benefit Group, emphasized aligning rewards with company values and cost-efficient program design.

Safety and Health Sessions: Mitigating Risks

Safety and health professionals attended breakout sessions, starting with Charlie Edelman, corporate safety director at Unitex Healthcare Laundry Services Inc. Edelman emphasized safety culture, risk assessments, and open communication to mitigate workplace risks. Colin Giles, regional safety manager at Unitex, joined Edelman on stage. A panel discussion on chemical safety essentials followed. Cintas executives Stephen Jenkins (Director of Health and Safety) and Sydney Kelley (Ergonomics Engineer) engaged the audience in an interactive session on safe ergonomic practices and laundry cart selection. Brian Varner, owner of Safety Solutions for Healthcare, delivered insights on creating and using safety KPI dashboards.

Maness stated, “The summit was a great opportunity to learn about different metrics and dashboards to adequately report and improve safety.”

AI Solutions for Production Ergonomics

The summit concluded with two general sessions. Kriz Mizen, head of loss control at CompScience, explored AI solutions for production ergonomics. Mizen highlighted how AI supports employees by providing real-time feedback, guidance, and skill enhancement. Attendees learned best practices for leveraging AI in production ergonomics as well as the benefits and challenges of AI implementation.

In the final session, Samlane Ketevong, the senior director of certification and accreditation at TRSA; and Varner debuted their plan for a new and improved certification for Safety and Health.


TCATA Holds Successful Annual Management and Educational Conference

The Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA) announced the success of its 2024 Annual Management and Educational Conference. Held April 28 – May 1 at The Omni Barton Creek in Austin, TX, this year’s conference brought together industry leaders for a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights.

John Silverman passes the gavel to Mack Magnus.

During the conference, TCATA President John Silverman installed Mack Magnus of M & B Hangers as its new President, marking a new chapter of leadership under his guidance. Mack, President of M & B Hangers, has served as TCATA Conference Chair as well as Vice President on the Board of Directors representing supply manufacturers.

TCATA also introduced its newest board members. Terry Hammond of UNX Christeyns, Jack Heaviside of Sunburst Chemicals, Justin Shamion of Colmac Industries, Wes Nelson of Sankosha, and Robb Vacek of Horwath Laundry Equipment, are poised to contribute to the association’s mission of advancing the textile care industry.

TCATA celebrated the anniversaries of longstanding members recognizing A-1 Products of Birmingham, AL, and Tschopp Supply of Buffalo, NY, for their 50 years of membership, as well as honoring M & B Hangers of Birmingham, AL for an incredible 75 years of membership.

Leslie Schaeffer (center) receives the first Member-Driven Award named in her honor.

Highlighting the spirit of leadership and collaboration within the TCATA community, the inaugural Leslie Schaeffer Member-Driven Award was presented to Leslie Schaeffer, TCATA CEO, acknowledging her outstanding contributions and commitment to the association’s member driven mission.

TCATA is excited to announce that the 2025 Annual Management and Educational Conference will take place at the Ritz Carlton Tiburon in Naples, FL, April 27 – 30.

For more information about TCATA and upcoming events, please visit www.tcata.org.


DLI Spring Graduates, Upcoming Classes

The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute’s (DLI) School of Drycleaning Technology trained 22 students in its 385th General Drycleaning Course, composed of the five-day Introduction to Drycleaning Course, March 4 – 8 and ten-day Advanced Drycleaning Course, March 11 – 22.

Founded in 1927, DLI’s School of Drycleaning Technology has helped shape the careers of thousands of drycleaners worldwide. In these courses, students learned about:

  • Sorting loads for drycleaning
  • The science of drycleaning
  • Fibers and their characteristics
  • Fabric construction
  • Cleaning silk, stain, and other fabrics
  • Soil and cleaning theory
  • Operating a drycleaning machine
  • Stain removal chemistry and procedures
  • Removing coffee, ink, grease, and other stains from clothing
  • Pressing pants, coats, blouses, ties, pleated garments, and skirts
  • Using tensioning equipment to improve finishing quality
  • Using bleaches without damaging fabric color
  • Distillation procedures
  • Understanding the differences between solvent types

Upcoming 2024 DLI Courses

  • Virtual Stain Removal Course: July 9 – 30
  • Virtual & In-Person West Coast Stain Removal Couse: July 24 – August 7
  • Virtual Stain Removal Course: September 10 – October 1
  • On-Site Introduction to Drycleaning: October 7 – 11
  • On-Site Advanced Drycleaning: October 14 – 25
  • Combined Introduction & Advanced Courses: October 7 – 25

Prospective students are invited to learn more and register at www.DLIonline.org/Education or contact Melissa Wagner at 800-638-2627.

DLI’s 385th Introduction to Drycleaning

Front row (left to right): Alisson Guamba, Zips Dry Cleaners, Columbia, MD; Jolene Law, Sierra Cleaners, Belen, NM; Haven Law, Sierra Cleaners, Belen, NM; Alana Siuda, Gibson’s Cleaners, Toronto, ON; Serena Lane, Gold Star Cleaners, Brewer, ME; Kayla Hughes, Puritan Cleaners, Richmond, VA.

Middle row (l-r): John Garza, Lavaseco Universal, San Antonio, TX; Lundy Burns, Crazy Cleanerz, Memphis, TN; David Starr, Kraft Cleaners, San Antonio, TX; Sukhjiwan “Jay” Singh, Lapels Cleaners, Cary, NC; Pete Everest, Rick’s Cleaners, Austin, TX; Aaron Vassallo, My Butler Service, Thornleigh, New South Wales, Australia.

Back row (l-r): Donna Wagner, Glyndon Lord Baltimore Cleaners; John Saviano, Gold Star Cleaners, Brewer, ME; Boston Chauthani, Polo Cleaners, San Juan Capostrano, CA; Gerrayl Bryson, Tiffany Couture Cleaners, Las Vegas, NV; Mark Harris, Oceanside Cleaners, Jacksonville, FL; Phillip Wedel, Neighborhood Cleaners, Eatonton, GA. (Not Pictured: Sheikh Hossain, TinyBubbles III, Inc., Grand Prairie, TX.)

DLI’s 385th Advanced Drycleaning Course

Front row (left to right): Brian Johnson, DLI Director of Education & Analysis; John Garza, Lavaseco Universal, San Antonio, TX; Alisson Guamba, Zips Dry Cleaners, Columbia, MD; Sukhjiwan “Jay” Singh, Lapels Cleaners, Cary, NC; Aaron Vassallo, My Butler Service, Thornleigh, New South Wales; Australia.

Back row (l-r): Boston Chauthani, Polo Cleaners, San Juan Capostrano, CA; Kyle Nye, Brio Cleaners, Bellingham, WA; David Starr, Kraft Cleaners, San Antonio, TX; John Saviano, Gold Star Cleaners, Brewer, ME; Lundy Burns, Crazy Cleanerz, Memphis, TN; Sheikh Hossain, TinyBubbles III, Inc., Grand Prairie, TX.

Scholarship Students: Alana Siuda, Gibson’s Cleaners, Toronto, ON; John Garza, Lavaseco Universal LTDA, San Antonio, TX; Boston Chauthani, Polo Cleaners, San Juan Capostrano, CA; John Saviano, Gold Star Cleaners, Brewer, ME; Lundy Burns, Crazy Cleanerz, Memphis, TN.


TRSA Hosts Successful Midwest Summit and Plant Tour

The Textile Rental Services Association held its second Regional Production Summit and Plant Tour event on May 1-2 in Milwaukee. Held in collaboration with the Wisconsin Association of Textile Services (WATS), the summit aimed to enhance quality programs and accessibility for all members by bringing them together at a central location within their region.

Keynote Sessions and Presentations

Nancy Roberts

The Midwest Summit commenced with an engaging keynote session by Nancy Roberts, CEO and founder of The DISC Wizard. Roberts delved into the concept of emotional intelligence (EQ), highlighting the five traits of emotionally intelligent individuals. Attendees gained valuable insights on how to apply EQ knowledge to become more effective leaders. Roberts also incorporated audience EQ evaluations into her presentation, ensuring a tailored experience.

Jessica Leigh

Jessica Leigh, customer success manager at Spindle, followed with a focus on production managers’ roles in preventative maintenance. Attendees learned strategies to optimize labor and energy costs by scheduling preventive maintenance during regular working hours. Real-world examples underscored the importance of proactive maintenance practices. Leigh emphasized the significance of scheduled meetings between production and maintenance staff for organizational efficiency and safety.

Don Bock, an industry consultant, delivered a comprehensive presentation on “Fire Safety – Strategies for Prevention.” Bock covered common sources of fire in laundries and provided best practices to prevent such incidents. He also discussed various fire suppression systems applicable to laundry facilities.

Leadership Skills and Process Improvement

Christopher Stammer, CEO of Volu Interactive, challenged attendees to reflect on their leadership styles. Drawing from his experience as a United States Coast Guard licensed Master Captain, Stammer shared real-world scenarios where captains’ decisions impacted outcomes. An interactive exercise highlighted collaboration and decision-making as essential leadership skills.

Keith Ware, another industry consultant, explored process improvement and root-cause analysis. Ware emphasized thinking outside the box and fostering collaborative teams. Attendees participated in a creative challenge, building structures from marshmallows, dry spaghetti, and pipe cleaners. Facilitated roundtables further encouraged discussions on EQ, leadership development, and safety.

Panel Discussion and Plant Tours

The summit’s first day concluded with a dynamic panel discussion featuring Doug Roskopf (ITU AbsorbTech Inc.), Chris Gibson (UniFirst Corp.), and Andrew Leonard (Gunderson Group). Ken Koepper, TRSA’s director of membership and industry relations, moderated the panel.

On May 2, Alsco Uniforms and Superior Health Linens graciously opened their local facilities for guided tours, providing attendees with a tour of their facilities.

First-time attendee Chris Milum, plant manager at Spotless Uniform in British Columbia, found the information and technology shared very useful. He added, “I look forward to taking much back to implement in my plant.”

The third program in this series will be held on Oct. 15-16, in Newark, NJ, for members in the Northeast region. Click here to learn more about the Northeast Summit.


Methods for Management meets in Winnipeg

Methods for Management (MfM), a leader in providing strategic guidance to the dry cleaning industry, held a successful meeting of its Canadian Bureau. Hosted by Lisa Loscerbo and Kevin Hiebert of Best Care Dry Cleaners, the event took place at the Inn at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on April 17-18, 2024. This assembly was two days of industry collaboration and innovation among top-tier Canadian dry cleaning professionals.

A Day of Insight and Industry Advancement

MfM Canadian Bureau Group at the Duha Color Group (left to right) Fontana Coy – Duha Color Group, Lisa Loscerbo – Best Care Dry Cleaners, Lorena Malusoc – Best Care Dry Cleaners, Beatrix Alcala – Best Care Dry Cleaners, Kevin Hiebert – Best Care Cleaners, Nadine Rana – Drape Master Platinum Cleaners, Kermit Engh – MfM, Larry Tessier – Busy Bee Cleaners.

The meeting commenced with a working breakfast on Wednesday, setting the tone for a day filled with insightful activities and industry engagement. The highlight was a planned field trip to The Duha Group, a global pioneer in color marketing solutions. Kermit Engh, Managing Partner of Methods for Management, reflected on the visit: “This was a fascinating field trip to the Duha Group, a worldwide company that produces designer paint samples used by paint stores and interior designers. An integral part of this company is its long-standing continuous improvement culture.”

Participants explored Duha’s innovative approaches to color strategy, mass reproduction, and system management. The tour showcased the company’s commitment to cultural excellence and continuous improvement, providing participants with a firsthand look at effective communication and standardization through visual systems.

Best Care Dry Cleaners Plant Tour and Peer Review

Later in the day, attendees visited the Best Care Dry Cleaners plant, engaging in a constructive critique session. This visit allowed members to exchange ideas and insights, fostering a collaborative environment to discuss advancements and innovations. The session concluded with a delightful dinner hosted by Lisa Loscerbo, providing a perfect setting for relaxed yet productive networking.

Lisa Loscerbo shared her thoughts: “Our recent MfM collaborative gathering served as a platform for sharing knowledge, discussing emerging trends, and brainstorming innovative solutions to common challenges faced by our industry.”

Strategic Discussions and Knowledge Exchange

Thursday was dedicated entirely to strategic discussions and knowledge exchange. The day started with a working breakfast and was intensive, focusing on individual plant issues, sales trends, and financial health. Members shared their ‘Best Ideas’ from the last quarter, reviewing successes and learning points, which spurred discussions on marketing strategies and technological advancements in equipment.

Lisa Loscerbo, reflecting on the outcomes, stated: “As CEO of Best Care Dry Cleaners, I am proud to have participated in this exchange of ideas. Some of the key takeaways from the meeting were the significance of leveraging technology to streamline processes and enhance the customer experience. By staying informed of the latest advancements in garment care technology, we can ensure that our services are efficient, convenient, and tailored to meet the evolving needs of our clients. At Best Care Dry Cleaners, we are committed to continuous improvement and exceeding our customers’ expectations. The insights gained from this meeting will inform our strategic initiatives as we strive to uphold our reputation as the preferred choice for discerning individuals who demand the best for their garments.”

Nadine Rana of Style & Grace Cleaners added, “As MfM members, we build on each other’s success among our peer groups and within the dry cleaning industry. After attending the recent bureau meeting hosted by ‘Best Care Cleaners’ in Winnipeg, we left completely inspired and motivated to embrace continuous improvements in our business. Not only did we have huge takeaways from our peer group but beyond in recent insights gained in a completely different industry sector with ‘The Duha Group’ and how their leadership team has embraced ‘The Kaizen philosophy’.”

Continuing the Legacy of Excellence

The second quarter meeting of the Methods for Management’s Canadian Bureau not only reinforced the importance of collaborative learning and innovation in the dry cleaning industry but also highlighted the crucial role of strategic leadership in adapting to changing market dynamics. As the industry evolves, MfM remains at the forefront, facilitating peer groups that propel the dry cleaners toward greater efficiency and success.

For more information on Methods for Management and upcoming meetings, please contact Vikki Reed at vreed@mfmi.com.


Acquisition of Shortridge expands K-Bro’s geographic footprint in the UK

K-Bro Linen Inc. (“K-Bro” or the “Corporation”) (TSX: KBL) announces the acquisition of Shortridge Ltd. (“Shortridge”), a high-quality hospitality laundry provider based in the North West of England, expanding K-Bro’s geographic footprint in the £1.4 billion UK commercial laundry and textile rental market.  K-Bro also owns Fishers Laundry Group (“Fishers”), the commercial laundry and textile rental provider covering Scotland and the North East of England, which it acquired in 2017.

Shortridge is headquartered in North West England.

Shortridge is being acquired for consideration of £24.1 million (approximately C$41.2 million), on a cash-free, debt free basis (subject to customary conditions, including certain escrows) and with a further potential earn-out of £2.0 million (approximately C$3.4 million) for achieving certain targets for the 12 months through September 2024.  Shortridge’s last twelve months’ revenue for the period ended March 31, 2024 was approximately £12.5 million (approximately C$21.4 million).  The transaction includes the freehold and leasehold real estate for Shortridge’s laundry processing facilities.   The acquisition is being funded entirely from K-Bro’s recently increased syndicated debt facility and is expected to be accretive to the Corporation.

Shortridge is headquartered in North West England, with laundry processing sites in Lillyhall and Dumfries and a distribution centre in Darlington. Shortridge is a long-established and respected laundry company and K-Bro plans to retain its branding. Its experienced management team will remain with the business and K-Bro intends to retain Shortridge’s employees across its three sites.

Linda McCurdy, President and Chief Executive Officer of K-Bro, said, “While our original plans to grow our presence in the UK were interrupted by the Covid pandemic, we have stayed on the alert for further growth opportunities in the UK, and I am excited by the potential that this acquisition presents for us and for Shortridge’s customers. We share the same values as Shortridge, so the cultural fit is strong and the business has found a good home as part of the K-Bro family.

“This is a great opportunity for us to diversify our customer base in the UK and to position our combined UK business for more growth as we look to extend K-Bro’s geographic reach further south into the UK.”

Peter Semple, Shortridge Business Director, said, “This is a good news story for Shortridge and our customers as we join the K-Bro family with the resources and the vision to help us grow the business further while continuing to look after the interests of our valued customer base. K-Bro’s experience, coupled with Fishers’ strong reputation and track record here in the UK, make for a formidable team and we can look forward to an exciting future together.”

Transaction Highlights

  • High-Quality Operator: Shortridge is a prestigious commercial laundry operator with a reputation for serving the needs of its customers well and represents the addition of a second, highly recognizable local brand in the UK for K-Bro.
  • Adjacent Geographic Footprint: Two strategically located processing facilities and one distribution depot expand K-Bro’s geographic footprint into the North West of England.
  • Highly Diversified Customer Base: Shortridge services over 1,200 hospitality customers, including many local, independent businesses, with no customer representing more than 3% of revenue.
  • Experienced Management and Shared Values: The experienced management team at Shortridge has significant industry experience and both K-Bro and Shortridge have shared values in ‘putting people first’, prioritizing customers, employees and all stakeholders.
  • Well Positioned for Growth: Shortridge has attractive organic growth opportunities and K-Bro’s vision includes supporting both existing and new customers. The acquisition creates a foundation to extend both Shortridge’s and Fishers’ services further south into the UK while remaining vigilant for further acquisitive growth opportunities elsewhere in the UK.

Transaction Financing
The acquisition is being funded entirely from K-Bro’s credit facility.  K-Bro is committed to maintaining a flexible capital structure to support future acquisition and organic growth.

Legal Counsel
Burness Paull LLP and Stikeman Elliott LLP are acting as legal advisors to K-Bro.

About K-Bro

K-Bro is the largest owner and operator of laundry and linen processing facilities in Canada. K-Bro provides a comprehensive range of general linen and operating room linen processing, management and distribution services to healthcare institutions, hotels and other commercial accounts. 

K-Bro currently operates ten processing facilities and two distribution centres under two distinctive brands, including K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. and Buanderie HMR, in ten Canadian cities: Québec City, Montréal, Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.

About Shortridge

Since the early 1990’s, Shortridge has operated as a family run laundry business, based in Cumbria, with plants in Lillyhall, Dumfries and a distribution depot in Darlington.

It specialises in providing high quality laundry services to local independent hospitality businesses, including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering units and restaurants.

About Fishers

Fishers was established in 1900 and remained family owned up to 2003. Acquired by K-Bro in 2017 the company has invested significantly in its large, highly automated, laundries to become the leading laundry provider to large hotel chains operating in Scotland and North East of England.

The company has also pioneered the use of RFID technology with its own luxury linen brand to create a bespoke offering to some of Scotland’s most prestigious hotels and venues.

The company operates five sites in Scotland and the North East of England:

  • Cupar – Prestonhall
  • Perth
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Livingston
    Coatbridge