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Providing Quality Linen at a Fair Price with World-Class Service

Gunderson takes pride in delivering ‘great product with honesty, integrity and a smile’

MENASHA, Wis. — Gunderson Uniform & Linen traces its roots back to a single dry-cleaning location here that was started in 1952.

That year, a couple were heading from Chippewa Falls to California, pursuing a dream to open a laundry. 

Along the way, the couple stopped to visit an ailing relative in a small town in the middle of Wisconsin.   

While there, they saw a laundry in downtown Menasha for sale.  

“Grandpa decided to buy the laundry and run it for a couple of years until he could make his dream of moving to California a reality,” says Sara Gunderson, granddaughter of founder Douglas. 

“Seventy-two years later, and now in its third generation, Gunderson Uniform & Linen is still operating in the same building—of course with several additions and improvements throughout the years.” 

During the early years, the focus was on family laundry and dry cleaning to provide for the growing need in the community, she points out.  

“In 1969, the main plant was converted to a healthcare plant, and a 55-year partnership with a local healthcare system was born,” says Sara.   

Her father, Gary, purchased the company from Douglas in 1989 and has continued to expand the company.

Sara also works with her brother Doug in the family business.

“We’ve been proudly serving Wisconsin businesses for more than 72 years,” she says.


Gunderson Uniform & Linen operates two plants. One is dedicated to healthcare and hotel linens, and the other is a food and beverage/uniform facility.

“We serve a diverse range of markets,” says Sara. “Our mix includes healthcare, F&B, industrial and hotel.” 

She says the healthcare/hotel plant operates six days a week while the F&B/uniform plant runs five days a week.  

Distribution is on the road six days a week.  

“We have 150 employees across the two processing facilities and one distribution depot,” Sara shares. “Combined we have about 130,000 square feet of production space.” 

The main hospital/hotel plant includes two tunnel washers, four pony washers (250 pounds each) and two 130-pound machines, and the uniform plant runs six split pocket washers along with multiple dryers.  

On the finishing side, Gunderson has four flatwork irons and six folders.    

“Weekly, we are processing more than 400,000 pounds,” says Sara.


Ensuring the cleanliness of the linens Gunderson delivers is of paramount importance to the company, says Sara. 

“We conduct third-party lab testing on our linens quarterly and are proud to report nine consecutive years without any failed tests,” she points out. 

“Our tailored wash formulas effectively eradicate 99.9% of all microorganisms, further guaranteeing hygiene standards. 

“Additionally, we implement daily quality assurance measurements to uphold the highest standards in linen production.”

Sara shares that Gunderson is proud of its TRSA Hygienically Clean certification.    

“We have been certified three times by TRSA, with the most recent certification in June 2023,” she says.

Besides cleanliness and quality, Sara points to several factors that make Gunderson stand out with its customers. First are its account management processes.

“We have dedicated account managers that are assigned to vertical markets,” Sara says. “This has allowed us to build relationships with our customers, have a single source of contact and provide an elevated customer experience.  

“We take a tailored approach with our customers. Also, we are a one-stop shop: linen, mats, direct sale, embroidery, etc.”

She says that the company has also placed significant importance on its company culture with programs that show its employees that they matter.

These include English classes for Spanish-speaking employees, a yearly local Resource Fair, an annual company party/picnic for all employees and their families, appreciation lunches, and a focus on its compass among other retention efforts.

Sara points to Gunderson’s commitment to world-class service as making it stand out in the industry.

“Our vision is to have a team of 100% actively engaged people delivering world-class service,” she says.  

Gunderson garments are tagged with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips for tracking purposes. 

“RFID tags carry an individual tracking number so the garment can be tracked throughout the laundry and rental process,” Sara points out. “This allows us to be able to offer reporting to our customers.”  

Finally, she points to the company’s sustainability initiatives that set it apart. 

“In an industry that uses a lot of water and energy, Gunderson utilizes several sustainability initiatives including reclaiming heat from the washers and reclaiming water usage,” Sara shares. 

Gunderson also stands out because of its growth, safety, leadership and community-mindedness, she says.

“We’ve had 12% average year-over-year growth since 2016, with a commitment to elevating our service and building relationships with our customers,” Sara points out.

“With our focus and priority on safety, we’ve gone two years with no lost time accidents. 

“We have a 10-plus year average leadership tenure, and we’re community-minded—we believe in giving back to the community that’s been good to us.”  


While Gunderson has stood out and grown, Sara acknowledges that the past few years have presented some unprecedented challenges for the industry: COVID, rising costs and labor shortages to name a few.

“But these are hardly unique to just Gunderson,” she points out. “Having a great team, planning strategically and playing to our strengths are just some of the ways we’ve been able to persevere and allow us to feel optimistic about the future.

“While there have been significant improvements in the areas of laundry equipment, information technology and fabric technology, the principle of providing quality linen at a fair price with world-class service has not changed,” Sara says. 

“It still comes down to the basics of delivering a great product with honesty, integrity and a smile.”         

Providing Quality Linen at a Fair Price with World-Class Service

Sara Gunderson (left) with her father, Gary, who bought the company in 1989, and her brother, Doug. (Photo: Gunderson Uniform & Linen)

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