This industry classification covers businesses that primarily supply or rent to commercial establishments or household users the following laundered items: uniforms, gowns, and coats used by doctors, nurses, barbers, beauticians, and waitresses; table linens, bed linens, towels and toweling; and similar various items. Companies included in this industry may or may not operate their own laundry facilities. Companies that primarily provide diaper service are in SIC 7219: Laundry and Garment Services, Not Elsewhere Classified.
According to U.S. government statistics, there were 1,142 establishments in this category in 2002, down from 1,347 in 1997. A continued decline in number of businesses was anticipated in the mid-2000s. Industry sales, in contrast, increased with sales of $3.09 billion in 2002 compared to $2.94 billion in 1997. Industry employment continued to decrease in the early 2000s, with approximately 52,000 workers in the industry and a total payroll of $1.2 billion, compared to 56,700 workers in 1997 earning a total of $1.08 billion.
Among the dominant corporations in the industry is uniform giant Cintas Corporation, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, who also designs, manufacturers, and rents work uniforms in addition to its dry-cleaning services. The company serves businesses ranging from small shops to large corporations. Cintas's clientele extended to 500,000 business customers in 2005, with sales of $2.8 billion and 28,300 employees in 2004. A close second in this category is the ARAMARK Corporation, with a net income of $263.1 million in 2004 and 242,500 employees.
Other industry leaders included G&K Services, Inc., the third-largest uniform and rental supply company, serving more than 160,000 customers. G&K...