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A Great Finish at the Special Event
Thursday, July 09, 2009

PartyrentalKelly Grill , Owner
The Special Event

When Kelly Grill established The Special Event as a party rental store in 1996, she designed an on-premises laundry to process the table linens. Several years into the operation, she realized she was quickly outgrowing her facility.

In Healdsburg, Calif., the heart of Sonoma County wine country, the event business really has taken off. The most significant customer categories are caterers, event sites and fund raisers. During peak season, The Special Event rents more than 600 table cloths and 3,000 napkins per week.

Its laundry is installed in an 18-foot-by-20-foot room, which includes linen storage and dishwashing. The room currently includes a UniMac® 60-pound, ultra-high speed washer-extractor and a UniMac flatwork finisher with a 126-inch finishing width.

Previously, there was a smaller flatwork finisher with only a 66-inch finishing width that consistently caused workflow problems due to the limited ironing capacity.

"We had to fold large tablecloths and pass them through the ironer four times," Grill said.  "The finished quality was lacking because of the thickness of the folded linen. As we grew, the time it took to pass the same piece of linen through four times was becoming a problem. We couldn't keep up with the volume," Grill added.

"When we purchased a new, larger ironer, our weekly labor for the laundry was cut by more than 10 hours. This has been a great cost savings and will allow us to recoup our investment in just a few years. Plus, our linens look better," she said.

Using her entrepreneurial spirit, Kelly is constantly learning about her laundry operation.  She has several ideas to share with other party rental operators.