Roscoe Blog

Celebrating 98 Years of Helping Chicago-Area Businesses Get to Work in Uniform

Celebrating 98 Years of Helping Chicago-Area Businesses Get to Work

On August 13th, 1921 Roscoe founders George C. Buik and John P. O’Connell set out with a mission. They wanted to fill a gap in what they recognized as a fast-growing, niche market in an increasingly industrialized Chicago. Not only were they determined to improve the lives and businesses of their customers, they sought to build a company culture of excellence.

Today, 98 years later, we are celebrating the team members and customers who have helped keep their vision going for nearly a century, even as the industry has undergone a dramatic consolidation.

Generations of Pride

“When I started in the business full time in 1982, there were 80 operators in the (linen and industrial laundry) market,” says Roscoe’s third-generation owner and President, Jim Buik. “Now there are about 10. We are the last industrial independent supplier in Chicago.”

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We've Got Our Repair Processes Buttoned Down

We've Got Our Repair Processes Buttoned Down

If you've ever walked out the door in the morning only to discover that a button has come loose on your shirt, or worse, that a zipper has started to lose its grip, you know how annoying it is to have to figure out some kind of fix on the fly. (Ahem.)

But not everyone can get by with a safety pin or a bit of masking tape creativity.  On a work uniform, a loose button is more than just an annoyance. It's a distraction, and potentially, a work-stopping safety hazard.

A work uniform service that doesn't have a buttoned-down system of repair and replacement is a work uniform service that doesn't work.

Nothing Gets Past Our Expert Spotters 

At Roscoe, we've been perfecting our system of repair for more than nine decades, with an inspection process that subjects every single garment to careful scrutiny. Wobbly buttons and weak seams have nowhere to hide when they hit our line of sharp-eyed inspectors at the hanging station.

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A Day at the Beach and Suddenly the Barcode is Everywhere

A Day at the Beach and Suddenly the Barcode is Everywhere

Norman Joseph Woodland is said to have sketched out the idea for the first barcode in sand, while sitting on a Florida beach in 1949, sparking a transformation of the way entire industries track their products, their processes and their inventory.

It just goes to show you that the concept of “a day at the beach” is lost on some people.

Still, thanks to Woodland, his co-inventor Bernard Silver, and a forward-thinking supermarket executive who drove the evolution of Woodland’s idea into the pattern of stripes found on everything from hospital patients’ i.d. bracelets to airline boarding passes, people in almost every industry on the planet have more time to do more important things than the tedious manual tasks that barcodes made unnecessary.

It was 45 years ago last week that a cashier in Ohio scanned the first UPC code, ringing up a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum from a barcode on the wrapper. Inspired by the dots and dashes of Morse code, Woodland and Silver's barcodes work by encoding price, product information and other data into a series of vertical lines of various widths that are read by photosensitive scanners.

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Roscoe Team Heads to New Orleans to Explore Industry Advances

Roscoe Team Heads to New Orleans to Explore Industry Advances

We are excited to be heading to the Big Easy this week for the Clean Show at the Morial Convention Center.  Billed as “the main event for the laundering, dry cleaning and textile services industry,” Clean 2019 provides an opportunity to learn about the latest products and trends in our industry.

At Roscoe, we're committed to keeping up with state-of-the-art practices in all aspects of our business, with a particular focus on customer service, environmental responsibility and continuous improvement.

The event, which runs June 19-23, will include opportunities for us to learn about advances in processes for using less water, among other environmentally focused practices.

“We’re interested in the latest technology around water re-use and filtration systems to reuse water and enhance sustainability,” says Roscoe President Jim Buik. As chairman of the industry trade organization, the Textile Rental Service Association (TRSA), Buik has made promoting good environmental practices throughout the industry a focus of his term.

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Record-Breaking Customer Service and a Commitment to Do Even More

Record Breaking Customer Service and a Commitment to Do Even More

Roscoe’s business model is built around providing the highest quality of customer service – we take pride in growing our business through satisfied customers. We spend a lot of time thinking about ways we can improve and setting goals for continuous improvement. But what really matters is, what do our customers think?

We really want to know. It’s always nice to hear what we’re doing right – those things that drive our customer satisfaction numbers up. But we also want to know where our customers think we could do better so we can continue to identify opportunities for improvement.

Every year we bring in Carl Hendrickson, President of Market Measurement, a Detroit-based market research consulting firm, to survey our customers. Using 10 criteria shown to be “key drivers of satisfaction” in the uniform industry, Hendrickson’s firm contacts a random sampling of Roscoe’s customers, probing for detailed opinions from those who work directly with their company’s uniform program.

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