Uniform company upgrading HQ
A uniform company is completing the first phase of a $7-million expansion to its main facility in the region.
Kalamazoo-based Continental Linen Services, or CLS — which also supplies linens and facilities-related offerings — will finish in June the $2.4-million first phase of a project that will allow CLS to expand capacity, reduce waste and become more energy efficient at its headquarters, at 4200 Manchester Rd., according to CLS this month.
“This project is a huge step toward embracing technology and setting up our company for future growth,” said Sarah Wrubel, SVP and co-owner, CLS. “Our team members are so excited for us to be investing to improve their work environment and give them the best equipment that is out there.”
Kurt Vander Meer, CLS president and co-owner, said it will allow CLS to “grow substantially for years to come.”
“Investing in our talent, community and Michigan is what we are all about,” Vander Meer said. “Together, we grow.”
CLS expects to complete the work in three phases, a spokesperson for the company said.
The first phase — which partially rolled out this month and will be fully complete on June 10 — included new equipment to help CLS employees better handle incoming soiled textile products.
CLS supplies a range of rental textiles, including uniforms, entryway mats, towels, tablecloths, cloth napkins, hospital gowns and aprons. The soiled products come back to CLS to be commercially washed, folded, re-packaged and shipped back out.
Prior to the upgrades, the CLS facility was manually sorting more than 912,000 items each week.
The new equipment streamlines the soil-sorting process by integrating vacuum-sort technology and a series of conveyor belts leading to soil-sort bins that precisely weigh the product. The process is also designed to improve safety and efficiency for workers at CLS.
Phase two and three
Phase two will include two additional commercial irons, additional folding equipment and an automated clean storage system.
Phase three will include a 200-foot-by-40-foot addition to the building and the instillation of a new tunnel wash and dryer system.
The last major expansion at CLS in Kalamazoo was the addition of a facility across the street at 3000 Covington Rd., which houses storage for washed and folded products, as well as sales and marketing personnel.
CLS has been a family-owned business in the Kalamazoo area since 1899.
The facility on Manchester Road has been in operation since 1980 and has steadily grown over the last 38 years, currently employing about 140 people.
CLS has six additional locations: Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Cadillac, Saginaw, Detroit and Alpena, with a total of 240 employees companywide.
It is also in the process of building a new facility in Cadillac a few blocks from its current rented facility.
The company serves more than 6,000 customers across Michigan.