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Historic Hotel Outsmarts Limited Laundry Space

Aggressive plan swaps old ironer with two new ones, maintaining ambiance without disturbing guests

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the world was largely distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike Mosele saw an opportunity to sharpen his focus and keep Amway Grand Plaza at the top of its industry.

Mosele, the director of Engineering at the Hilton property, realized that the hotel’s laundry facility would benefit from more efficiency and reliability. The existing ironer was underperforming on quality and production and did not offer the redundancy the property needed.

“The Amway Grand Plaza has an impressive amount of food and beverage outlets, which include big names like Ruth’s Chris and Wolfgang Pucks,” says Mosele. “So, we need a laundry operating system with significant redundancy that not only passes our standards, but also passes our partners’ standards.”

To solve this problem, Mosele connected with Kyle Zabrin of Equipment International, an industrial laundry provider that services Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Mosele knew that this would be a challenging project. The five-star hotel maintains its 1916 details, including a smaller laundry space that was the norm over a century ago. Mosele was a bit apprehensive. However, his concerns didn’t last long.

“Very quickly, it became obvious to me that Kyle really understood our desire to get as much out of our laundry space as possible, and that he would work with us to make sure we got exactly what we needed,” he says.

“Equipment International worked to prevent and alleviate any of our concerns up front by providing us with options.”

Of the options presented to Mosele, he chose to go with the installation of two new ironers. Given the limited space, this meant that both of the new ironers had to fit into the small space where only one originally sat.

Mosele entrusted Matt Walker, Equipment International’s director of Technical Services, with guaranteeing that the renovation did not disturb Amway Grand Plaza guests. The timeline was aggressive.

Existing laundry service was outsourced for the duration of the project. Labor was scheduled for the early hours of the morning and the late hours of the evening. From HVAC services to new lighting and ceiling tiles, every detail was orchestrated to maintain the property’s ambiance.

Recognized by the Historic Hotels of America, Amway Grand Plaza was designed during a time when egress was rarely a concern. Swapping the old ironer for two new ironers required inventive rigging solutions and disassembling and reassembling a majority of the equipment to fit it through the side of the 29-story glass tower hotel.

The installation of the new ironing lines included a Chicago Dryer King Edge spreader feeder, an Imperial 232 136-inch ironer and a Skyline S-16 folder. The small-piece line also has a Rapid Feed, an Imperial 48 136-inch ironer and an S-12 with a rotary accumulator.

All of the equipment has the ability to synchronize speed for a smooth process with no bottlenecks. This combination of equipment also makes smart use of space, with the Imperial Ironer taking up one-third less floor space than traditional side-by-side alternatives.

One of the new ironing lines was dedicated to sheets while the other was dedicated to small pieces and food and beverage linens. Though they each serve a unique purpose most of the time, if one goes down, the other can cover the workload.

Amway Grand Plaza was pleased to have a fully redundant laundry system.

The company quickly noticed other benefits, too, such as increased throughput and decreased manual labor—thanks to cornerless feeding capability. They also observed heightened quality, due to the fully automatic operation of the folder.

The improved ergonomics and caliber satisfied the needs of Amway Grand Plaza’s housekeeping, management and engineering.

“I was surprised by the great service they [Equipment International] were able to provide to an out-of-state account,” Mosele comments on the after-care of the Midwest laundry distributor. “They reacted like their shop was right down the street.

 “It truly was a great experience. They provided all professional installers and service techs. What we needed is exactly what we received.”