AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “The idea is by keeping that revenue here, by this being a co-op, it begins to kind of trickle down to a degree, to really improve the city of Amarillo.”
North Heights Linen Service is giving new meaning to the term “cleaning it up”. Board member Bowden Jones, Jr., said the facility will be able to provide a list of laundering services to area healthcare facilities, as well as boost commerce and economics in north Amarillo.
“It’s a laundry facility, specifically a healthcare laundry facility which basically allows us to be able to provide, wash and deliver laundry for healthcare facilities,” he said. “It’s a pretty big deal. Something that’s going to help, hopefully bring a lot of different commerce to the community, to Amarillo, to the north community as well.”
The NHLS facility is 30,000 square feet, and costs around $7 million for construction. With the current configuration, it will be able to produce about eight million pounds of laundry annually, with the possibility of future expansion. Jones said one of the biggest benefits the service will provide is giving area healthcare facilities the ability to get their materials cared for locally. Which makes for a more efficient operation, and keeps more revenue in the city limits.
“Right now, many of our healthcare facilities either launder their own material,” he said. “Many of the larger ones actually send their material out of town, and in some cases out of state. Which means that income, that revenue, is actually not staying here in Amarillo. So one of the great things about having this facility here, is that we will be able to create some efficiencies in terms of laundering material for healthcare facilities. But even greater than that, we’ll be able to provide some economic impact by keeping that revenue within the city of Amarillo.”
Jones said the concept for the facility and the service came from a group of people who wanted to help revitalize the North Heights community in north Amarillo. Back in 2013, one of the board members read about a similar service in Cleveland, Ohio. After some back and forth communications and a few trips to the Buckeye State over the course of a few years, NHLS was created as an LLC, and according to the NHLS website, an area hospital has already agreed to be a pilot customer.
On top of the economic boost the service will bring to the city, it will create jobs. Amarillo currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the state, and NHLS is looking to keep that trend going. Jones said the service will initially start with 15-25 employees, and once it’s fully operational, that number will expand to around 100 employees. The employees will have actual ownership in the facility.
“The important thing about this laundry, is that it will be a co-op, which basically means that the employees will actually have ownership in the actual facility, in the actual business,” Jones said. “Which means they will have the opportunity to make decisions on how the business is run, some of the decisions that are made as far as what the laundry does. So the idea is, is that with it being a co-op, ownership will hopefully, will begin to generate additional opportunities and wealth within this community, which will hopefully begin to revitalize this side of Amarillo.”
There will be a ribbon cutting celebrating the facility on Thursday, June 17th, at 4 p.m.