Now in its 74th year of operation, Rental Uniform Service has reached this point by making shrewd decisions. Recently it has brought UNX-Christeyns back as its washroom chemistry partner, a decision that has produced significant benefits in a short window of time, according to the company.
“We began a review of our wash chemistry situation in late 2021, did extensive research and narrowed it down to two companies that we met with personally,” recalled Danny Lawrence, CEO for Rental Uniform Service. “it was remarkable that cost-wise, there was not much difference between the two. But it was evident from the beginning the UNX-Christeyns folks genuinely wanted our business, and they had the technology and service we were looking for.”
HIGHEST QUALITY: Rental Uniform Services uses advanced UNX-Christeyns wash formulas to clean garments and provide the highest quality product for their customers
The North Carolina family-owned company began as a small business founded by James E Waggoner in Bluefiled, Virginia in 1949. Today,his four daughters serve as the company’s Board of directors. CEO grandson Danny Lawrence is married to Paula, the company’s controller. Robert King, director of corporate development, is the husband of Waggoner’s granddaughter, Susan-Hager-King. Holly Benfield, director of human resources, is the founder’s great granddaughter and the first fourth-generation family member to serve on the management.
Lawrence explained: “I’ve been in the linen and uniforms industry my entire life. I became a full time employee here in 1978 after working in the plant for my apprenticeship. I was promoted to assistant plant manager in 1981 and promoted to general manager at our Sunshine Rental Uniform Service facility in Gastonia in 1988.”
About the time Lawrence was elevated to assistant plant manager in 1981 is when UNX-Christeyns first became a rental uniform service supplier. Known then as UNX – which later merged with and became UNX-Christeyns in July 2022 – the comany became involved during a growth spurt. Rental Uniform Service is now a more diversified organisation with 145 employees using 200,000 square feet between their headquarters in Statesville, North Carolina, a processing facility in Gastonia, North Carolina, and distribution centres in Mills River, North Carolina as well as Florence, South Carolina, putting them in favourable proximity to an expansive client base. Management also operates a employee-friendly schedule, running 10 hour shifts four days a week.
“We provide the highest quality product for our customers. That involves utilising good modern chemistry with natural soap,” explained Robert King who has been instrumental in growing the company’s sales and technology efforts in his current position. “We wanted the highest quality product possible so the goal was to create advanced wash formulas that were unique to each of our customer segments,” continued King.
“For example, we partnered with UNX-Christeyns to develop a low pH dispensing formula. In simple terms, since the wash cycle environment is less harsh the goods are going to be brighter, they will last longer and they are going to wear better. We have always been known for the quality and comfort of our garments. Now, with skilled input from UNX-Christeyns, we have been able to achieve an even higher level of comfort and appearance for our customers. This innovative treatment environment makes it better and we didn’t have that process prior to working with them.”
“UNX-Christeyns was able to provide significant efficiencies by reducing the number of steps in our wash formula processes from the beginning to the end. They’re making sure we are being trained properly on their equipment and making any necessary adjustments. They also just finished constructing a unique rack system for the chemical dispensers, which provides efficient product injection while reducing mechanical components. The end result is we have a better looking and cleaner product, in addition to the tangible benefits of using less energy, natural gas, electricity and water.”
Those benefits include improved effluent (wastewater), which is always an important goal for industrial laundries. They have provided real-time, in-house reporting capability that tracks pertinent management data, such as determing the cost-per-load and other vital daily production numbers. King says that looking at the big picture, it’s better chemistry with UNX-Christeyns that ultimately benefits their customers.
“You can get a uniform from anybody, but what our customers get from us and our vendor partners is better service and quality that can’t be found elsewhere. Our customer’s expectation is they want a clean and comfortable product, not one that was run through a solvent process,” he noted.
“We invest more money than most of our competitors because we require our wash process to deliver the highest quality product for our customers. They know we have an experienced service team that is providing the best care in the industry. We treat our employees and partners like family and that’s why many of them have been with us for three decades. That is what truly impacts the relationship with our customers, not just numbers on a page.”