One of Rochester's oldest and largest employers, Textile Care Services, was purchased by a Wisconsin firm on Thursday.
Superior Health Linens, of Cudahy, Wis., closed on a deal to acquire the large commercial laundry from TC Services LLC, an independent firm related to the Kahler Hospitality Group.
Financial terms of the total sale were not released, though just the real estate portion of the operation cost $10 million, according to state records. People involved said the final amount was "a very large number."
TCS was founded by Mayo Clinic and the Kahler Hotel as a joint venture in 1918 to clean all of the linens for both institutions. The hotel group took over full ownership in 1996.
Today, the laundry cleans 35 million pounds of linens from Mayo Clinic and area hotels every year.
TCS, based in a 116,000-square-foot facility at 225 Woodlake Drive SE, employs 275 people. Superior rehired every one of those employees this week.
Scott Reppert, the CEO and president of Superior, said he spent much of Thursday and Friday interviewing and rehiring all of the TCS workers.
"Each and every one of them said they loved their job. I asked each one if they were will willing to give 100 percent. They all said they'd give us 120 percent," said Reppert. "There was lots of applause, a lot of happiness. … We had people crying, they were so happy."
In addition to rehiring everyone, Superior gave all of the employees a pay raise and made some improvements to benefits.
The sale wasn't the only deal that wrapped up on Thursday. Mayo Clinic signed a new, long-term contract with Superior-owned TCS.
Working with Superior gives Mayo Clinic something it didn't have during the past 99 years with using TCS as a commercial laundry -- a back-up plan.
The new owner has eight other commercial laundries in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky. If something should happen to the Rochester plant, Superior can clean Mayo Clinic's dirty laundry at its Wisconsin sites.
"Mayo Clinic considers this a patient critical service," said Reppert.
The new contract is "significantly" longer than the industry standard of five to seven years, he added.
Paul Jewison, the laundry's general manager for the past 25 years, said this change means the operation will be able to invest in new improvements.
"There are a lot of exciting things we can do now," he said. "Plus, for the first time, we'll just be a laundry company and will be able to just focus on that. This is a great deal for us."
In 1996, Sunstone Properties, the previous owner of the hotels, took over complete ownership of the laundry. The Kahler Hotel Group, under the leadership of Javon Bea, then purchased the four Rochester hotels and the laundry for $230 million in 2013. The laundry was operated by TC Services LLC.
Leslie Hohmann, the chief financial officer for the Kahler Hotel Group and TC Services, said this deal is positive for everyone.
"Our board thought it was a good time to sell. And they really liked the people (at Superior)," she said.
TCS will continue to handle the Kahler hotels' laundry needs under a new contract.