Not just cleaning clothes, creating fun environment
CHICAGO — If you live in Maine, you might be a customer of Pratt Abbott Garment Care, the state’s largest provider of drycleaning, vended laundry and linen/uniform rental services.
“One of the reasons we have all three business sectors is to provide volume to afford a management infrastructure which allows our employees growth opportunities,” says David Machesney, who, along with his father Jim, purchased the company in 1991.
The other, he maintains, is because providing “everything clean” simplifies life for customers.
The firm umbrellas 12 drycleaning facilities, eight vended laundries, and a 50,000-square-foot linen and uniform rental plant. By design, multiple revenue streams feed the Pratt Abbott enterprise.
“Co-mingling,” he adds, “also allows us to run fully attended laundries and offset some of the labor cost from drycleaning revenue.”
Thus, the vended laundries tend to make the drycleaning stores more profitable, and vice versa. Even better? The pairing creates “one-stop-shop” customer convenience. That’s important, according to Machesney, because Pratt Abbott “is in the business of selling time.”
Uniform and linen rental, the most profitable of the firm’s business sectors, began in the 1970s, but only recently ballooned into super-performer status.
Making up a robust 58% of total company revenue, the uniform and linen service provides pickup and delivery of cleaned and leased garments and linens. During the last 12 months, it has realized double-digit growth, according to Machesney. Thanks to the new plant’s size and equipment mix, he expects that growth rate to continue for the next two to five years.
Committed to improvement, Machesney ensures his drycleaning locations, plants, and vended laundries operate at peak performance. He reinvests for big returns.
“We continuously improve all our processes to provide innovative services that increase satisfaction, quality and value for our customers, and create profitable growth for our company,” he says.
During the last decade, for example, he’s renovated several vended laundries, which resulted in a per-store revenue bump of 10-30% and utility cost savings of 50%. “We like to diversify our assets and control our destiny,” he notes, “so in addition to having the three different segments of garment care industry, we invest in commercial real estate to control our locations and further diversify our assets.
“We absolutely want to continue to grow and solidify our market,” Machesney says. “If you can do something you like and be profitable along the way, that’s the ticket.”
Machesney is ever on the hunt for new opportunities. His most recent development is new Express Laundry Centers in North Windham and Yarmouth, Maine.
It’s a journey, according to Machesney. “I didn’t look to get into the business to clean clothes. I wanted to run a business and I knew we needed enough size and infrastructure to do it right. I have 160 employees and five direct reports, and we try to make it a fun environment.”
Grateful for the company’s success, Machesney and his team make a point to give back. “We are active volunteers of Junior Achievement,” he points out.
Additionally, Pratt Abbott cleans 40,000 Coats for Kids each year and supports Camp Susan Curtis summer camp for underprivileged kids. “These kids are in tough situations and summer camp gives them a chance to breathe and plan for their future,” says Machesney. “It helps them break the cycle of poverty.”