Advanced Linen Service contracts with restaurants all over the Bay Area, providing laundry service for uniform and linen. The company has grown to over 500 clients, including some of the most exclusive establishments in San Francisco, such as Scoma’s, Alioto’s on Fisherman’s Wharf and the Tadich Grill— San Francisco’s oldest restaurant.
Restaurant managers and owners can simply pick up the phone and talk to Hickman instead of other staff members or recordings seen in similar businesses, he said. The personal relationship between Hickman and his customers remains to be the staple of their business, but has led to some growing pains.
With carts of linen pouring out along the sidewalks of their current location and delivery trucks dotting the nearby streets, it has become obvious the company has outgrown its current location.
The business, however, will not be moving very far away.
Hickman said the owners are in the process of purchasing an industrial property on the 200 block of Orange Avenue in Patterson, which will give them the room they need to handle their growing demands. The purchase process is expected to conclude in the next few weeks, he added.
“We have plans to hopefully go to 1,000 clients,” he said, noting they’d like to double or triple their business at their new location.
Hickman and Garza approached the city November 19 to discuss the possibility of securing a loan of $135,000 to help their business transition from their current location to the Orange Avenue facility.
With the loan, the transition could take six months or less to move from one location to the other without stunting their progress. If, however, Advanced Linen Service were unable to secure a loan from the city, Hickman said the transition could take more than a year and feat their current growth pattern, which currently employs 74 people — including 58 within walking distance of the company.
Hickman also said banks were unwilling to pay for the transition, along with the real estate transaction to purchase the building and land of what will be their new facility.
Mayor Luis Molina said he was cautiously optimistic that something could be done, but was wary of a straight business loan from the city. He did say, however, he thought a relocation loan that helped keep a business in the city was different than a business loan.
Molina said he called the California Environmental Protection Agency to see if there was a grant or loan to help clean up contamination that may be at the site.
“There are other things we can look at,” Molina said. “I see it differently.”
Molina also noted that the city has to get creative legislatively without automatically saying no in order to continue looking for ways to help.
Regardless of how the city council votes on the matter, which isn’t yet scheduled to come before the council, Advanced Linen will continue to provide high quality restaurant linens and serve up personal relationships with their customer base, Hickman said.
“We haven’t been told ‘no’ and the city has tried to be accommodating,” he said.
Public safety and city government reporter Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.