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Keeping It All In The Family Pays Off For Resort Services, Inc.

BLUFFTON, S.C. -- Located on 20 acres, replete with Spanish moss drifting off tree branches and sprinkled liberally with Southern hospitality, Resort Services, Inc. stands as a showcase for the American work ethic combined with strong family values. Begun by Jerry Reeves III in 1973, the company had Spartan beginnings. A 100 X 150 foot building on 4 acres contained three washer extractors, six dryers, one flatwork ironer, a 100 hp boiler and a delivery truck…mostly “pre-owned” equipment. Waste water from the washers simply sprayed out onto their adjoining field. According to Reeves, it resulted in their growing the greenest weeds in the county. Twelve people constituted the payroll and their only customer was Sea Pines, a property management company with 500 vacation villas and a few restaurants on nearby Hilton Head Island.

Reeves and his wife, Mary, grew the business, until a fire burned down the plant in 1977. It would have been a business-ending disaster for many, but for them it was a speed bump on their road to success. While rebuilding, they serviced their customers with Resort Services’ employees taking bags of laundry - and bags of quarters - to local coin operated laundromats until arrangements could be made with nearby commercial laundries.

Today, Resort Services boasts more than 200 employees, working a 7 to 9 hour shift in a 100,000 square foot facility. Jerry and Mary have been joined by their sons Jeff, Tommy, Michael and Jerry IV, on the management side of the business. This family-run enterprise has grown to the point where they process over 32 million pounds of linen a year for more than 500 customers. About 40 percent of the linen processed is for hospital and related healthcare facilities, another 40 percent for hotels and property management companies and 20 percent designated as food & beverage linen arriving from more than 400 restaurants and clubs. A fleet of 30 trucks traveling up to 270-mile round trips service their customer base.

Linen off-loaded from the trucks it is sorted both by customer and by linen type. A Thermopatch property marking machine is used to mark each piece with different colors used to identify individual hotels and hospitals. The same colors are used to dedicate the carts to the customer’s linen. For example, linen for a certain hotel will have gold Thermopatch identifiers and be transported in gold colored carts, while linen for a specific hospital is identified with gray Thermopatches and is transported in gray carts. Four continuous batch tunnel washers are in the main washroom, one Voss for sheets, two Voss’ for blankets and terry items and a Lavatec for medium soil health care items. New Lavatec single-stage presses at the end of each tunnel, operating at 27 to 30 bar, feed 75 and 110-pound cakes to shuttle conveyors. The cakes are transported to rows of Lavatec continuous batch dryers, thirty-one in all, according to programmed availability. After the soiled linen has been removed from the Diversified Plastic carts in the soil sort department, the carts are taken to a designed enclosed washing station, pressure washed with germicide, and moved to the “clean” side of the plant.

There are seven flatwork ironers in the main plant, two 10-roll Super Majestics for aprons, scrubs and pillow cases, two 8-roll American Super Sylons for fitted sheets and blankets and three 6-roll American HyPros for all flat sheets. Feeders used are Sager Model A, Chicago Edge, Jensen Logic 2000 and Jensen Extreme, while folders are a mix of Lavatec, BB&D and Jensen. For special applications, they have eight Challenge 6-pack towel folders, a Braun hospital blanket folder and a Chicago Air hospital underpad folder.

A new wing of the plant has been dedicated to food and beverage linen. Here, a 14-chamber Lavatec continuous batch washer with a Lavatec press, six Lavatec continuous batch dryers and four Super Majestic flatwork ironers with Jensen, Lavatec and BB&D folders and feeders handle the needs of the more than 400 restaurant customers. Lavatec engineers designed the heavy-soil-washing tunnel to satisfy the waste water regulations by separating “light soil” waste water from “heavy soil” waste water resulting from the heavily soiled restaurant linen.

“Heavy soil” waste water that has exited the tunnel is sent outside the plant to pit “A”, where it runs through a Sweco vibrating screen to remove lint and other solid matter and then into pit “B”. Then it is pumped into a recirculation tank containing a Norchem Ultra Pure chemical-free waste water treatment system. Pumps create a 60 psi pressure, forcing this waste water against a ceramic membrane, allowing filtered water to pass through. The dirt, oil and greases are separated out and sent to a storage tank to be picked up by a certified outside contractor for landfill.

Providing steam for the dryers and ironers and to preheat water for the tunnel washers, are two 600 hp boilers, a Cleaver Brooks and a Continental. A 400 hp Continental is there as a standby.

Employee relations a.k.a. “family teamwork” is a very important aspect of Resort Service’s success. Working floor managers and supervisors are encouraged to form close relationships with the employees to optimize productivity and job satisfaction. Weekly production meetings, as well as monthly management meetings with all employees solve problems, air ideas, discuss performance goals and maintain a high level of responsibility awareness. This “family” philosophy apparently works, since employees remain an average of 18 years, with two original employees logging 30-years. Now into their fourth decade, Resort Services has proven that when an entire family is dedicated to doing the job right, a business that is extremely capital and labor intensive can successfully be operated and provide outstanding quality, service and products.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Laundry Inks $23.7 Million Military Hospital Contract

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Division Laundry & Cleaners process over 16 million pounds of linens yearly for hospitals and hotels. San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) recently awarded the family-run business a 5-year, $23.7 million contract for laundry services.