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Centralized vs. In-house Laundry (Part 1)

Wisconsin lodge, waterpark makes use of centralized service for towels, linens

CHICAGO — Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wis., is a 225-suite property with a waterpark attached. 

The spacious suites and kid-friendly waterpark make the property a major draw for family vacations. The amenities also mean the property produces quite a bit of soiled terry and linen products.

To process these goods, Timber Ridge uses an off-site, centralized laundry.

On the other hand, White River Health System is a rural medical facility located in Batesville, Ark., that chose to handle its healthcare laundry on-site. 

Why does one business choose to use a centralized laundry service while another processes soiled goods in-house?

American Laundry News spoke with representatives from both Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark and White River Health System to get the stories behind the laundry choices made, including the positive aspects and the challenges.

This time, Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark shares its story.


Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark uses the centralized laundry of Wisconsin Hospitality Linen Service (WHLS) in Milwaukee, a customer-owned goods (COG) plant with an extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry, located about 55 miles away from the property.

“You can imagine that we use over 1,000 towels in the waterpark every day, in addition to all the linen and terry requirements for the hotel,” says Joe Sebestyen, area vice president for Marcus Hotels & Resorts, which manages the lodge and waterpark. “Using a centralized service is more cost effective. It offers peace of mind for the hotel, our employees and the guests when it comes to the laundry.”

He points out that because of using WHLS, Timber Ridge employees can be more guest-focused, rather than being concerned about laundry operations. 

“More time can be dedicated to customers,” he adds.

According to Sebestyen, a centralized laundry service aids the property because WHLS can focus on laundry labor, being efficient and effective, and having the specialized equipment needed to process pound after pound of terry and linens.

In terms of the labor benefit provided from using WHLS, he points out that with the “war” for finding talent in a low-unemployment economy, people are hard to find in certain areas of the country who will work in a laundry department. 

“Centralized laundries are most cost effective in operations and utilities,” shares Sebestyen. “You do not need to purchase the equipment and have engineers to repair it.”  

Speaking of equipment, he points out that centralized services have specialized equipment for laundry, especially to make hospitality linens as “user-friendly” as possible. WHLS says it uses state-of-the-art tunnel washers and dryers to process 10 million pounds of laundry annually.

“The equipment has moisture sensors so they can dry the linens without burning them,” Sebestyen says. “This makes the sheets more comfortable and you do not have to replace them as often.”

And while the service is nearly an hour away from Timber Ridge, which can be a cause for concern, Sebestyen is confident that the property will have all of the terry and linens it needs. He says WHLS picks up seven days a week, has 24-hour turnaround and provides a dedicated account manager.

“We are not the experts in laundry, WHLS is,” Sebestyen points out. “They have people and equipment focused on laundry operations, and we focus on hospitality. That is why we use them.”

Check back Thursday for the conclusion with a look at in-house laundry.

timber ridge centralized laundry web

Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark in Lake Geneva, Wis., uses Wisconsin Hospitality Linen Service in Milwaukee to process its laundry. (Photo: Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].