Outsourcing spurred entrepreneur’s successful move from chemical rep to laundry executive

By Jack Morgan

It all started with a voice mail. Bernard Young, a chemical company rep ser-vicing on-premise laundry (OPL) and warewash (i.e., commercial dishwasher) accounts, noticed that many of the hotel laundries he visited were costly and inef-ficient. He figured he could do better as a niche service provider processing items such as customer-owned table linens.

So he went prospecting. He called one of his hotel customers to talk about out-sourcing opportunities, never expecting the prompt response that he received. “In 2003, I got the first opportunity to do a major hotel,” Young says. “I was doing sales calls while selling chemicals, and I left a voicemail message for at the time what was called the Hamilton Crown Plaza. I left a message on their voicemail because no one answered the phone.”

Not long after, a hotel manager returned Young’s call and asked to meet with him to discuss options for changing his outsourced laundry provider. At the time, the startup version of Metro Laun-dry Service was relying on a few sec-ond-hand washer/extractors and dryers and three employees to process mainly table linens in a 1,500-square-foot (139 square meter) facility.

“I went in and I expected to be talking to the executive housekeeper, but was sur-prised to see the actual general manager there to talk to me,” Young says. “I told him that I really hadn’t had any major hotels. The only one I had been doing was a small hotel in Georgetown. But if he could give me the opportunity, I felt I could do it.”

The manager then showed Young the laundry where he saw hundreds of pounds of linens awaiting processing. The hotel was unhappy with its current outsource provider and was looking for a more reliable partner…