You are here

Human Side of Laundry (Part 1)

How operations care for employees, communities, customers

CHICAGO — The laundry and linen services industry is made up of businesses that take in soiled goods, process them and then return clean, hygienic goods to customers.

At first glance, it may seem like the only human engagement the industry has is the touch and feel of clean goods customers enjoy, possibly some interaction with sales and route service representatives.

But there is so much more to the industry.

Laundry and linen services touch lives beyond the laundry in many ways, from the employees to customers to communities, from offering needed assistance to offering job satisfaction.

American Laundry News columnists-at-large Tommy Cocanougher and David Griggs volunteered and dove into the topic, recording observations about the human side of laundry from their respective experiences and operations.

First, Cocanougher, director-operations engineering solutions for Cintas Corp. Western North America, shares about how laundry operations are caring for employees, the community and their customers.


Laundry business employees across many companies in the United States truly engage at every level to help one another, and the communities in which they live, all the while enjoying a secure employment picture. 

Since this business cannot be outsourced overseas, it provides a secure role with a steady income and good benefits in most cases. 

The employees in our industry care deeply for each other. There are numerous stories where an employee had a family medical emergency, in one case a grandson was ill and in the hospital. 

The entire production team held a fundraiser for the family to help them through the difficult time. They made homemade foods and sold plate lunches at the facility with all proceeds donated to the family in need.

Working in our industry also allows us to help the community. Laundry services are routinely provided free of charge in many cases to nonprofit organizations. 

In one case, a location of one of the industry’s larger operators provides laundry services for homeless bedding and provides garments to various rescue missions. 

In two instances recently, companies have provided surplus and slow-moving garment stock to homeless shelters in Tulsa and Las Vegas. 

Not only do the communities benefit from these products and services, but the employees at the locations also feel good about the effort and about their company as they get to participate in the gathering and distribution of these garments to those less fortunate.

Employees also have experienced multiple opportunities to help with food drives and clothing drives, furthering their engagement in a team event at the location and often out in the community.

Our industry is very customer driven. One operator had a customer who had a fire over the weekend.

The operations team was able to help them by picking up all their garments and linen on Monday and washing it the same day to get it back to them so they could re-open for business.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion about opportunities laundries offer to help build their employees’ lives.

Human Side of Laundry

(Image licensed by Ingram Image)

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