From its modest beginnings in an eight-stall garage in Boston in 1936, UniFirst Corporation has become an industry leader and remains one of the fastest growing companies in the $19 billion Uniform and Textile Services business.
The Company, whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (Symbol: UNF), operates 260 facilities, serves over 300,000 customer locations throughout North America and employs over 14,000 Team Partners. Its business is the Rental, Lease and Sale of work clothing, uniforms, protective apparel, careerwear, and facility service products to businesses in virtually all industrial categories.
With Corporate Headquarters in Wilmington, MA, a suburb of Boston, and service facilities located throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe (UniTech), UniFirst services 98 of the top 100 metropolitan markets in the U.S. (363 of the top 381) and is able to service the majority of Canada.
The Company's commitment is to provide top-quality service to businesses in a broad range of industries that require superior uniform work clothing, career apparel programs, and other managed services. The major portion of the Company's business is Uniform Rental Service Programs, wherein it provides customers with all necessary products plus weekly cleaning, maintenance, and any needed replacements of work clothing for an affordable weekly fee.
UniFirst's financial strength is due, in part, to growth opportunities it has identified in areas beyond its conventional Uniform Rental Service operations. In 1959, for example, the Company became the first private industrial launderer to be granted a government license to process nuclear-contaminated garments. Since then, the Company has developed a separate division, UniTech Services Group, which now includes specialized plants throughout the United States and in Europe. UniFirst is a national leader in cleaning and decontaminating the garments worn by workers who maintain and refuel nuclear power and nuclear processing equipment. Other specialized divisions of UniFirst serving North America's diverse needs include UniClean-Cleanroom Garment Services and Green Guard-First Aid Service and Supply.
Central Distribution and Manufacturing
UniFirst maintains 2 state-of-the-art distribution centers and 5 manufacturing facilities in the U.S., North and South America. In-house manufacturing operations, which produce millions of uniform garments and floorcare products annually, provides a unique level of vertical integration that not only lowers the cost of the Company's Rental Programs, but also allows for superior and differentiated product options and the ability to create custom-designed items for image-conscious companies.
Garment Rental Industry
Four companies, including UniFirst, account for over 40 percent of the volume in the Uniform and Textile Services Industry, which has historically grown at about twice the rate of the gross national product. This trend and the long-term stability of the industry are both expected to be maintained regardless of overall economic conditions. For its part, UniFirst expects to remain among the industry leaders both by expansion within existing markets and by entry into new geographic areas.
The Uniform and Textile Services Industry's future is bright. Workers across a broad spectrum of businesses wear uniforms and opportunities abound, not only in occupations where uniform function traditionally has been the prime requirement, but also in those where image and identity offered by specializing work clothing are of primary appeal.