When some people think of Montana, they picture mountain ranges, wide open countryside, dotted with grazing antelope or elk, and maybe a few cowboys and visiting anglers. The reality is that Montana’s population has been growing at a rapid clip for the past two decades, giving it the distinction of being the fastest growing non-metropolitan area in the country.
Of course, the more people, the more services are needed. Among the services people need most is clean linen — which explains how Montana Linen Supply established itself as the premier commercial laundry service provider in the southern part of the state.
For the past eight years, Montana Linen has serviced a number of customers in the region that generate a large volume of laundry including various healthcare providers, hotels, food and beverage service operations, and more. Located ten miles outside of Bozeman, Montana Linen Supply recently started construction on a new 41,400 square foot plant to accommodate its rapidly expanding business.
Montana Linen is owned and operated by the Stith family, who own another successful, long-established commercial laundry service in Las Vegas, Nevada Linen Supply. Steve Stith, the family patriarch, credits his success to his midwestern work ethic, respect for his customers and employees, and, of course, the support of his family. He also credits his commercial laundry equipment supplier, Western State Design, with helping him get his business off to a good start and providing ongoing guidance and support.
Stith, an avid outdoor sportsman, got the idea for the second business during one of his many Montana vacation trips. Stith figured the recent rapid growth that had been taking place in the Bozeman area, in particular, created an opportunity for a commercial linen service, similar to the one he already owned. Research revealed that the closest big competitor was 150 miles away.
So, in 2011, he started the commercial laundry business, initially operating out of his backyard shed. It started out as a walk-off mat laundering service where the actual work took place offsite at the Stith’s Las Vegas plant. The business quickly branched out and gained new customers attracted by the stellar customer service, fast turnaround time, and quality results. It wasn’t long before Stith needed to lease a larger space. In due time, he turned over the business to his daughter, Tracy, to manage. Since then, Tracy has increased their customer base exponentially by acquiring other, smaller local laundry service providers to expand Montana Linen’s offerings, which led to the decision to build the new facility.
For guidance on the design of the new laundry processing plant, the Stiths, once again, turned to Western State Design. WSD has been a leading solutions provider in the commercial-industrial laundry sector for many years and has a level of expertise that’s unmatched by most others in the industry. WSD brought in ARCO/Murray, a national design and construction firm they’ve successfully collaborated with before on other projects, to build the plant.
The new plant construction is on a tight schedule: it’s due to be completed in December, just before the annual, seasonal influx of skiers headed to Big Sky Resort and other neighboring ski areas. The skiers will be followed by swarms of warm weather visitors headed to nearby Yellowstone National Park and other local attractions. These visitors contribute to the local economy by patronizing hotels, motels, inns, restaurants and other related service establishments that rely on a continuous supply of freshly laundered linens.
The huge new plant will include a full complement of high efficiency, high capacity industrial laundry equipment from leading manufacturers such as Milnor, Chicago Dryer, and Dexter Laundry, specified, supplied, and installed by WSD. This state-of-the-art laundry equipment will enable a high level of cost-saving automation.
So, while Montana continues to inspire awe with its beautiful, natural ‘big sky country’ vistas, its growing economy presents opportunities for entrepreneurs like Steve Stith, who have a good business idea and know how to execute it well. And, of course, there’s always a need for clean laundry.