The History of Doritex
The Doro family has been in the textile maintenance and cleaning business since 1920. Jim’s paternal grandfather and grandmother started the business, first as tailors and then opening a small dry cleaner. After World War II, Jim’s father joined his parents and opened the drive-in plant at 3466 Genesee Street near Union Road in Cheektowaga. Jim grew up working in the plant, literally starting from the ground up: vacuuming the floors, cleaning lint off the pipes and taking out the garbage. Eventually, he learned to press and run the dry cleaning machines. It was no surprise that after graduating from Notre Dame, Jim would be working with his dad.
The uniform rental business was started in 1972. Doro’s Cleaners bought the Apparelmaster franchise for Western New York. As McDonald’s was teaching restaurant owners to sell hamburgers, Apparelmaster taught dry cleaners to rent industrial uniforms. Jim was “Mr. Apparelmaster”. He sold the accounts, bought the uniforms, picked up and delivered them each week and cleaned them.
In 1978, the uniform division was separated from Doro’s Cleaners and Doritex Corp. was incorporated. The name Doritex is a composite of three elements: “Dor” from the family name Doro, “i” from industrial and “tex” from textiles.
During the summer of 1985, another Apparelmaster franchise, Anderson Cleaners of Jamestown, NY had a very serious fire. On October 1st, Doritex bought the uniform rental division from Anderson’s. This acquisition gave Doritex a significant presence in Jamestown and the surrounding areas of the southern tier. We also began serving customers in Pennsylvania. This was the year Doritex surpassed one million dollars in sales.
Doritex moved to the Alden Industrial Park at 11075 Walden Avenue in the fall of 1988. It took fourteen years to pass the one million dollar sales mark. Doritex passed the two million dollars mark in 1989 just four years later.
The next ten years showed slow and steady growth in sales, profit and experience. In 1999, we acquired all the business Van Dyne-Crotty was doing in the Buffalo area. This added volume enabled us to exceed the $100,000 weekly volume for the first time. With this added sales growth the time for expansion was at hand. Starting in the late summer of 1999, we added 15,000 square feet to our production facility. As the building project came to completion, we turned our attention to equip our plant for the future. A major commitment to improvements included: a new tiered stockroom, overhead, trolley-loaded clean route storage, soiled sling system, and a fully automated Braun wash-aisle, utilizing our existing 450 pound washers and adding two new dryers and a shuttle and take-away conveyor.
After completing the OPM course at the Harvard Business School in 2003, Jim challenged the management team to become more aggressive and grow the business to $10 million in annual sales.
In 2004, we entered into a purchase agreement to buy an 80,000-square-foot building two miles east of our Alden Industrial Park operation, at 11980 Walden Avenue. While the building was well-suited to be renovated as a laundry and uniform rental facility, it still required a lot of work to bring it back from being vacant for three years, and to connect it to the county sewers (as the property operated with a septic system). It took until the summer of 2007 to renovate the offices to the point where we could move in. At this time, we were fully engaged in building the laundry and installing the new equipment. We ended 2007, just short of $8 million in sales and the new plant within weeks of completion.
Spring 2008 marked the official opening of the new plant at 11980 Walden Avenue. This state-of-the art facility was highlighted in the IL magazine, an industry trade association publication of UTSA.
In July of 2010, Doritex Corp. acquired the business of local mat rental company Air-San. This added four additional routes, giving us 20 routes in total. Thanks to the new plant and the acquisition, we finished 2010 with $9 million in sales.
On October 17, 2012, Jim became the 61st chairman of TRSA, the international trade association serving the entire laundry and textile service industry. When we closed our books in December of 2012, we finally hit our goal of surpassing $10,000,000 in sales!
Recently, we earned several Industry certifications. In 2015, we earned the New York State SHARP certification, offered by NYSDOL. In 2016, we earned the TRSA Clean Green certification, and in 2017 we earned the TRSA Hygienically Clean certification. All this demonstrates our commitment to safety and quality! Looking to improve efficiency and expand capacity, in 2018, we expanded our wash aisle to include another washer and dryer.
Our challenge sales goal for 2019 is $12,000,000!