Reopening of the tour 2021: On the way in which with the TRSA

United States

The North American Association of Textile Services, TRSA, recently completed the first leg of its 2021 reopening tour of the southeastern United States to highlight the reopening of the economy and its impact on the linen, uniform and facility services industries. Travels from TRSA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia through Charlotte, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, the tour covered nearly 2,600 miles in seven states and 22 facilities for operator and supplier partners in 10 days.

TRSA representatives on the tour included Joseph Ricci, President and CEO; Tom Newell, vice president of operations; Kevin Schwalb, Vice President, Government Relations; and intern Ryan Kiernan.

"It was great to be back at the facilities and to meet with members again," said Ricci. “Business is returning and we've highlighted the reopening throughout the tour. Each member was enthusiastic about the recovery in the economy, but also concerned about labor shortages and supply chain problems, not only for themselves but for their customers as well, and the negative impact this could have on the recovery. "

The tour included stops at major national members and regional independent operators as well as supplier partners who provided all essential critical infrastructure support services from healthcare to food processing to manufacturing, logistics and other services. The highlights of the tour were shared on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, resulting in more than 15,200 impressions as well as numerous comments, likes and other recognitions on each platform.

The tour also provided the opportunity to see members' products and services related to the safety, hygiene, sustainability and comfort of guests, visitors and staff at national attractions such as Talladega Superspeedway, Country Music Hall of Fame, Graceland ( Elvis Presley's home) and Lorraine impact motel (site of the Martin Luther King Jr. Museum of Murder and Civil Rights), as well as restaurants, hotels, and other locations. Throughout the tour, TRSA tried to capture products and services “in action”, from table linen and clothes in restaurants to bed linen in hotels to hand sanitizer dispensers. Members' products and services, as well as delivery trucks and logos, were visible everywhere.

As the trip progressed, it became clear that the industry is returning more strongly due to efforts to diversify markets and introduce new services that approach pre-pandemic volume. While healthcare remains stable at around 90% of its pre-pandemic volume, including an increase in reusable personal protective equipment (PPE), other sectors such as restaurants, hotels and other hospitality industries only recovered mainly with weekend tourism. As restrictions continue to relax and the number of elective surgeries, doctor visits, restaurants and travel, especially business travel, increases, the linen, uniform and facility services industries will continue to recover.

As a recovery began to emerge, there were widespread concerns about labor shortages, supply chain and logistics, especially for overseas-made products, including steel. This labor shortage affects production and requires overtime and extra shifts to push products through the plant. They also limit the reopening. For example, Nashville sold out while TRSA was in town. Thousands of hotel rooms and restaurants were full, but service was hampered more by inability to hire staff than Covid restrictions.

A hotel laundry provider mentioned that hotels could only be busy if they didn't change linen while guests were staying. The rooms were empty until Monday, so not all could be turned around by then, delaying the shipping of soiled laundry to their laundries until Wednesday. Competition, access to day care, anxiety, and other factors all affect labor shortages, but most tour stop organizers pointed out that increased unemployment benefits pays close to $ 15 an hour when people are not working. They hope work will return when the subsidies end in September.

Overall, the first leg of the TRSA Reopening Tour 2021 was a great success, full of positive interactions with members. "Every place we visited was full of hardworking and really nice people, who were happy to see us and proud to show us their facility," said Ricci. TRSA is excited to continue the 2021 reopening tour with visits to the Midwest in June, followed by the Northeast, West and Southwest later in the year.

These companies were visited on the first leg of the tour (in order of the tour stop):

  • HandCraft Services Inc., Richmond, VA
  • Prudential Total Care, Colonial Heights, VA
  • Halifax Linen Service Inc., Roanoke Rapids, NC
  • Leonard Automatics Inc., Denver, NC
  • Crown Health Care Laundry LLC, Spartanburg, SC
  • Tingue, Peachtree City, GA
  • M + A Matting, LaGrange, GA
  • NuMat Systems LLC, Roanoke, AL
  • M&B coat hangers, Leeds, AL
  • Landau uniforms, olive branch, MS
  • UniFirst Corp., Memphis, TN
  • Alsco Inc., Memphis, TN
  • VF Imagewear Inc., Nashville, TN
  • Allegiant Linen Services, Madison, TN
  • NOVO Health Services, Chattanooga, TN
  • Linen King, Ooltewah, TN
  • UniFirst Corp., Knoxville, TN
  • Alsco Inc., Knoxville, TN
  • Alsco Inc., Roanoke, VA

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