Mullins no longer in vogue. So is Vogue in?
Mullins Laundry closed its doors in Mammoth indefinitely as of Friday, Sept. 3.
This appeared to leave the town with just one purveyor of restaurant linen, Mission Linen and Uniform Service.
Mission and the Laundry Annex, based in the industrial park, both serve lodging customers.
However, Vogue Linen, based in Elko, Nev. and with operations all over the neighboring state, has decided to join the fray and compete in Mammoth.
Vogue Linen Supply and Uniform Rental’s Sales Manager Joshua Park confirmed last week that his company will open a branch in Mammoth Lakes.
Vogue’s current service area covers east-west from the Utah state line to Lake Tahoe and north-south from Ely, Nev. to Twin Falls, Ida.
Part of that coverage includes Smith Valley and Yerington, so Mammoth doesn’t constitute too much of a stretch.
“We will continue to produce our product in Nevada and truck it in,” said Park. “Our rates will be competitive.”
Park said Vogue is not interested in renting Mullins’ building.
He counts four restaurants and the Innsbruck Lodge among his initial customers. In Nevada, Vogue supplies everyone from the Mom-and-Pop restaurant to the mining conglomerate.
A conversation with one of Vogue’s initial restaurant clients indicated that the owner went with Vogue because of a perception that Mission had inflated service charges.
“They told me they charged 13% as a linen replacement fee and another 10% in service charges (i.e. to cover items like transportation).
“Then they told me they’d drop those fees to 10% and 5% if I didn’t tell anybody,” added the owner.
A cursory check of two recent bills given to The Sheet by a Mission customer showed that customer was charged a linen replacement fee of 11.9% and a service charge of 8.7%.
Mission’s Bishop Manager Charles Bryant told The Sheet last week that his company’s linen replacement fees run between 5 and 12.2% depending upon the type of product used and the cost of replacement.
Service charges vary between 5 and 15%.
Bryant further explained that the typical linen supply contract runs for five years (although they will do 3-year contracts). “When we install the account, we buy for that account based upon ‘turn numbers.’”
For some accounts, Mission may spend upwards of $50,000 on an initial outlay for linen which it then recoups over time.
Vogue claims its replacement and service fees are between 1 and 2%.
Lou Margulies of the Laundry Annex says that in general, it always pays to buy one’s own linen.
“When you buy your own, you control your inventory,” she said via phone interview this week, “and you can typically pay off the linen in 2 to 2.5 years by the savings of only having to launder versus rental plus laundry.”
This calculation excludes, she said, depreciation and taxes.
Lou and husband Marc have been in the local laundry business for over a decade and currently own a building in Mammoth’s Commerce park.
They plan an expansion which will double their square footage by next spring.
The Laundry Annex does not participate in the restaurant linen business, which requires a lot of chemicals and hot water which makes it not so cost-efficient.
They only handle restaurants which are attached to lodging businesses, such as The Westin, Alpenhof and Austria Hof.
The Laundry Annex provides rental linen as well as laundering customer-owned linens.
Margulies says the Annex’s advantage is that she and her husband are owner/operators and it’s the only local game in town.
Mission’s plant is based in Lancaster, she said, and Vogue’s is in Reno. The Annex does its work right here in Mammoth.
“This means that if someone has a problem, we can solve it within minutes,” she said.
The Laundry Annex charges a linen replacement fee of 10%. However, the Annex does not charge for fuel, delivery, or require minimums.