Business is cleaning up
Up To Date Laundry workers, from left, Doris Monge, Gladis Ramos and Claudia Campos are among more than 400 employees working at the company’s Southwest Baltimore plant. The company, which serves many local health care providers, plans to double its capacity at an East Baltimore location and double its workforce as well.
Up To Date Laundry, a Baltimore-based commercial laundry operation that cleans sheets, doctors’ scrubs and other linens for many of the area’s major health care systems, plans to double its capacity and eventually its employment with a new facility in the Hollander Business Park next summer.
The 70-year-old company expects to hire 100 new employees of various skill levels when the Pulaski Industrial Area location opens in July 2017, and an additional 300 over the first five years of operation, officials were to announce today. .
“We’ve been here a long time; the city’s been good to us,” said Mark Carter, Up To Date’s president. “By expanding in East Baltimore, that’ll bring more jobs to a community that desperately needs jobs. I think that’s really, at the end of the day, what’s important.”
Aside from calling it a multimilliondollar investment, the company declined to say exactly how much it is spending on the new 79,600-square-foot facility. The project is being financed by Revere Bank and the Johns Hopkins Health System’s HopkinsLocal initiative. The Baltimore Development Corp. is lending $300,00 for capital improvement as well.
The new facility is expected to increase the firm’s laundry capacity by 72 million pounds per year and speed up turnaround for its clients, which include Johns Hopkins Health, the University of Maryland Medical and MedStar Health systems. The company serves 37 hospitals, as well as doctors’ offices, surgery centers and nursing homes.
Up To Date cleans more than 60 million pounds of health care linen each year for hospitals across the region, making it one of the largest health care laundry services on the East Coast, officials said.
On Wednesday, whirring conveyor belts and employees whisked hundreds of pounds of laundry, labeled by hospital, around the firm’s current facility near the Interstate 95 overpass on Desoto Road in Southwest Baltimore. Even with many operations such as folding mechanized, the sheer quantity of laundry the company processes requires a workforce of more than 400.
It is one of the only local facilities accredited and certified to service hospitals and other medical centers that have extremely high hygienic standards, said Corey Blanton, senior executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Up To Date didn’t always wash hospital sheets. Its laundry services originally catered to another of Baltimore’s giant industries: the port.
Then-owner William Stair Sr., father of current owner Nancy Stair-Carter, operated the company for years as a rapid laundry service for ships that came in from New York and Virginia.
The company made the jump to allmedical laundry in the 1960s, Blanton said.
In the past 10 years, hospitals have embraced outsourcing of services like laundry as they cope with changes to reimbursements and consolidate, said Linda Fairbanks, executive director of the Association for Linen Management.
Baltimore City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, whose district includes the Hollander Business Park where the new facility will be located, said the announcement is a signal of the area’s revitalization.
“I welcome anyone who wants to open a business in the Pulaski Industrial Area,” Scott said. “Anytime someone calls me and says they’re looking for an industrial place, that’s the first place I suggest.”