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Companies: Local, Regional, National

From entrepreneurs to large national chains, the textile services industry is a strong, diverse community committed to safety and the environment

The textile rental services business consists of roughly 600 owner-operators and national chains. Many of these are single-location operations, a laundry or office/service center.

Investment analyst Robert W. Baird & Co. (Milwaukee) defines the industry as engaging in four primary disciplines: uniform rental, linen rental, direct sale, and ancillary services. The entities’ efforts in these four combine for roughly $16 billion in annual revenues, the analyst says. Consulting with the industry’s three public companies and others to gauge the sales of the top chains in the business in 2010, Baird has calculated that the top 14 such companies account for about 56% of the industry’s revenues.

The top four are industrial launderers: companies that derive the most revenue from renting work uniforms to a variety of industries and the second most from providing dust control service including walk-off mats and wiping towels. These four are the three public companies (Cintas Corp., Cincinnati; G&K Services, Inc., Minneapolis; UniFirst Corp., Boston) and Aramark Uniform Services, Los Angeles. These four alone account for 42% of industry revenues.

Baird then identifies 10 companies whose combined sales account for 14% of industry revenues. Most of these generate significant sales from renting linen products such as tablecloths, bed sheets, napkins, aprons, smocks and scrubs. A second tier of the largest operators includes Alsco, Inc. (Salt Lake City), Ameripride Services (Minneapolis), and Mission Linen (Santa Barbara, Calif.). These are mixed industrial-linen companies, with Ameripride recognized as more industrial. Angelica Corp. (St. Louis) is 100% healthcare linen. Prudential Overall Supply (Irvine, Calif.) is heavily industrial.

In the next tier are two Detroit-area-based industrial companies (Arrow Uniform, Domestic Uniform), a mixed operation that’s primarily linen (Morgan Services, Chicago), and two healthcare specialists (Nixon Medical, Wilmington, Del,; Unitex Textile Rental Services, Mount Vernon, N.Y.). Not included in the Baird analysis but fitting into this tier is Coyne Textile Services, Syracuse, N.Y., an industrial specialist.

TRSA identifies these companies as textile services operators; any discussion of the industry's corporate ranks would be incomple without noting suppliers: businesses that provide operators with the equipment, supplies and services they need to serve their customers. Products provided include textile goods such as linens and uniforms and machinery for washing, finishing and material handling.