At a companywide event at Reading’s Madejski Stadium (main picture), leaders in commercial laundry, Solent Laundry Solutions (SLS), Hughes Pro and Armstrong, announced they will be merging to form WashCo. The planned merger will take place over a period of six months to ensure a smooth transition. On completion, WashCo will be the second largest commercial laundry specialist in the UK.
No strangers to each other, SLS, Hughes Pro and Armstrong have supplied products, services and advice to one another over the years but have still competed ?ercely for customers, making them the best of “Frenemies.”
With the merger, the leading names in laundry will join forces with their combined 100-strong team to offer customers an unrivalled nationwide service.
At the helm will be Peter Hosking and James Holmes from SLS as managing director and sales director and Simon Quinlan from Armstrong as operations director. The WashCo board will be chaired by Andy Pallant, who is the Hughes Electrical sales director.
Commenting on the merger, WashCo managing director, Peter Hosking said; “SLS has grown rapidly as a business and our ambition was to become a national provider of products, services and solutions. When the opportunity to join forces with two established and respected businesses presented itself, it was an easy choice to make. The most exciting aspect of this merger is that we all operate with a similar ethos and vision, combining the businesses ensures we have a united position within our industry and can benefit from the unique advantage each independent business offers to the new combined entity, WashCo.”
Hughes Pro is the commercial laundry arm of Hughes Electrical Ltd, a family owned and managed business founded by Frank Hughes in Lowestoft in 1921. Hughes Pro was formed six years ago to supply commercial equipment to Hughes Trades business customers and it now enjoys a strong relationship with Miele. It operates from three locations in Leicester, Norwich and Kent and employs 27 staff, of which 16 are ?eld technicians.
James Armstrong & Co Ltd was founded in 1878 and remained in the hands of the Lowes family up until it was purchased by Hughes Electrical in January 2018. At this point, the Hughes Pro staff and assets were transferred to Armstrong to make it the stand-alone commercial laundry specialist within the Hughes group. Armstrong imports, supplies and services Alliance manufactured equipment such as Primus and Speed Queen to end users and other dealers. Armstrong employs 47 staff, of which 11 are ?eld technicians, and has its head office in Newbury and a service facility in Glasgow.
SLS was founded by Peter Hosking and James Holmes in 2012. Operating from Fareham in Hampshire, SLS supports customers across the South of England and has been a strong partner for Miele UK, becoming the largest single commercial partner in 2016 and repeating that achievement in 2018. SLS has a team of 21 staff, 10 of whom are ?eld technicians. SLS is known for its innovative approach to the laundry sector and introduced the ?rst Internet connected commercial laundry equipment to the UK market in early 2018.
WASHCO TEAM: Pictured (from left to right) Andy Pallant, James Holmes, Peter Hosking and Simon Quinlan