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Secrets to Becoming an Award-Winning Operation (Part 2)

HLSG, Ecotex share how they elevate their businesses

CHICAGO — Award-winning. 

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? An award-winning laundry/linen service.

Some laundry operations consistently earn honors like “best to sell for” and “safest facility” and “trustworthy” and “innovator.”

The thing about being an award-winning company is that the honor isn’t about the award; it’s about what the award represents.

This includes years of effort to become the best laundry operation possible, in all areas of the business; satisfied, even ecstatic customers; and well-trained, happy employees.

And so much more.

So, what does it take for a laundry/linen service to elevate itself from satisfactory to award-winning?

American Laundry News reached out to several award-winning laundry businesses to find out how they have achieved, and maintain, their business quality.

The following “secrets to success” were shared by Brittany Nunez, corporate marketing coordinator for Healthcare Linen Services Group (HLSG) headquartered in St. Charles, Illinois, and Bryan Bartsch, CEO of Ecotex with U.S. headquarters in Seattle. 


HLSG, which includes Superior Health Linens, Textile Care Services, Logan’s, Reino and LinenKing, has more than doubled in size over the past three years while winning awards because of our ability to focus on key drivers of the business:

  • Organic growth.
  • Inorganic growth.
  • Efficiency.

We leveraged our:

  • Experience, having been at this for over 100 years.
  • Quality, having all HLSG plants HLAC certified.
  • Capacity and multi-plant redundancy, which allow us to grow with our customers and guarantee service levels.
  • Reliability: Investments in our technology infrastructure allow HLSG to keep a hand on the pulse of the business and stay consistent.
  • Value: HLSG partners with its customers to assist them in ways that save time and money.

Michelle McNeil, director of safety for HLSG, mentions that one of the ways she has found that motivates the plants to continue striving to award-winning cleanliness and organization is praising the things that already are being done correctly and top tier. 


The Bartsch family has been providing laundry services for 64 years, spanning three generations. 

Eldon and Ruth Bartsch opened Southgate Cleaners, a small local cleaning service back in 1959. As a young couple, they operated their small business while they raised their family of three children. 

Their son, Randy Bartsch, joined the family business to help his parents operate their company. In 1974, Randy expanded the company into a multi-location regional laundry service company, known as Act-1 Uniform Services. 

The company began serving its first healthcare customer in 1982. Fifteen years later, in 1997, Randy realigned the company to focus exclusively on healthcare. The company was renamed Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service. 

Now in our third generation of family leadership, the Ecotex group of companies is a multi-generational family enterprise.

Bryan Bartsch, the eldest grandson, joined the family business in 2002. The company was retooling and installing its first highly automated tunnel washing system to support the growing healthcare business. 

Bryan brought a strong work ethic and a desire to improve the family business. His skills were a strong match and proved to be important during this new era of automation and healthcare-centric focus. Bryan worked with customers to refine the product offerings and improve the company’s operations. 

Bryan’s younger brother, Brendon Bartsch, joined the growing company in 2013. Brendon has worked in many parts of the company to learn the business and filled various open positions during our growth. 

He started working on the Ecotex hospital linen distribution team, where he learned the service from the customer’s end. His hands-on approach and adaptability have allowed him to help support the company’s growth in many roles to strengthen the company. 

Today, Brendon is a regional manager. 

The family team has been highly effective, growing the company into a multi-region healthcare laundry service leader. 

We are healthcare market leaders in British Columbia, Ontario, the USA Midwest and the USA Southwest. The Ecotex Group of Companies includes Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service, Midwest Healthcare Linen Service and Ameritex Services. We continue to expand with organic wins, greenfield projects and acquisitions.

Our team of 1,500-plus employees supply North American hospitals with more than 1 million pieces of hygienically clean healthcare linen every day. We offer a comprehensive range of patient apparel, bedding, PPE, scrubs, surgical linen and related product distribution. 

In addition to healthcare laundering services, we also offer hospital site-based services where our company staff work at hospitals to provide on-site linen management and linen distribution services. 

In collaboration with our customers, our team has developed many service and product innovations to enhance value, sustainability, safety, quality and efficiency.

Click HERE to read Part 1 with thoughts from UniFirst Corp.

Read the conclusion Thursday for “secrets to success” from Prudential Overall Supply.

Secrets to Becoming an Award-Winning Operation

Brothers Bryan (left) and Brendon Bartsch of Ecotex with the vintage Southgate Cleaners sign. (Photo: Ecotex)

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