Zip Cleaners

Zip Cleaners, located at 61 N. Gilmer St., is photographed Tuesday in Killeen.

Eric J. Shelton | Herald

Unifirst, a nationwide uniform service, has purchased the uniform accounts from Zip Cleaners in Killeen.

Zip Cleaners, a longtime laundry service business in Killeen, will remain open and focused on its dry-cleaning services as well as services for restaurants, hotels and hospitals.

Unifirst was founded in Wilmington, Massachusetts, in 1936. Now, the company has more than 240 locations in the U.S. and covers all of Texas, providing uniforms — including repairs and scheduled cleanings — to thousands of companies.

Before the purchase, Unifirst served the Killeen area, but will now cover about 275 more accounts, which were purchased from Zip.

Mike Ferguson, a general manager with Unifirst in Austin, said the owner of Zip wanted to focus more on its dry-cleaning services.

“They really are two different businesses,” Ferguson said.

The sale of uniform accounts isn’t something listed in the want ads, but Ferguson said they have a relationship with all the small companies in the area and they know everybody, so when the timing was right, the purchase was able to occur.

Unifirst doesn’t expect any changes to occur to the uniform service, except a “different invoice and a different colored truck showing up at the door,” Ferguson said.

All of the uniform services will be conducted out of the branch in Hewitt, but all of the laundering services will be conducted in an automated plant that Unifirst built a little more than four years ago in Austin.

“In Hewitt, it’s a depot, more or less, and all of the laundry facilities are in Austin,” Ferguson said.

Unifirst started the transition with Zip on Monday and has received good feedback from the customers, so far.

“They are excited and are accepting the change pretty well. Obviously, we can offer more choices to the table, being a larger company,” Ferguson said.

He added that Unifirst can help companies that have operations outside of this immediate area as well.

More hires planned

Unifirst hired two employees from Zip and plan to hire a couple more for the Hewitt office to handle the increase.

“We are excited to service these customers and provide the level of service they’ve come to expect from Zip Cleaners, which is a very good company and very good people,” Ferguson said.

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