By Jennifer Allford for REAP Business Association
For years, Connie O’Connor wanted to do her own laundry. Mountains of it.
The co-founder of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) says every day, their hotels and restaurants in Calgary and Banff would go through piles of linens, send them back to the supplier and receive a fresh batch of linens. But CRMR is opening its own laundry in Bowness on the west side of Calgary to service their hotels and restaurants. It uses eco-friendly products and is expected to cost about the same, maybe a little less, than renting linens.
“The business case for doing our own laundry is we can own our linens which immediately took the quality of our linens in our hotels up tenfold,” says O’Connor. “Rental linens have to have 50/50 content or they shred them in laundry. Now we can have beautiful cotton linens and we’re laundering them ourselves and they’re fantastic.”
This isn’t the first time CRMR started a business to service their hotels and restaurants. Back in 1996 they started a ranch to grow their own game because they wanted to ensure quality meat for their restaurants. Next came a bakery, which is moving to Bowness to keep transportation costs to the mountains down.
CRMR’s “cluster businesses” are part of a growing trend of local vertical integration according to Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age.