You Can’t Replicate a 100-year-old Family Business | THE CITY STORY – EP. 3
“Since the beginning of the company, I think that every generation has changed the company a little bit. There was just such an opportunity within the business and I saw what my family had done. I feel like I was really cheating when I started because I knew so much about the business having grown up in it. I worked here my whole life almost so I knew the business. I just didn’t see there were other options. My dad, I’m sure, would tell you that he was surprised that I wanted to be in the business, or he thought I could go do other things, but I didn’t really feel like that was something I wanted to do.
One of my favorite things about the laundering industry is that there’s an element of blue-collar no matter how large the companies are. People that are hundreds of millions of dollars, they go out, and they know how to load a washing machine. They know how to work. There’s something about that, and maybe it’s growing up in Iowa, or the Midwest. This is just a nuts and bolts industry, and I think the service business; it’s never going to be outsourced. There’s a need for people to take care of services. What that service is, is always evolving and changes slightly, but at the end of the day it’s people taking care of people and helping people. That’s who we are, and this industry is full of people that want to help people and want people to be better.
The idea to come into a business and work with your family; it’s just such a unique thing because you have someone from day one, you trust. I remember hearing as young kid things about: well your great grandfather was so proud, and he did this or this happened, or uncle Gerry did this or grandpa struggled with this. That’s just here. It really doesn’t matter what building it is. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the new building in Des Moines or where ever we are. I mean that’s part of CITY. You can’t replicate a hundred-year-old family business. You can start something. You can do something new. You can twist it, expand it, but at the end of the day; there are 113 years of family here. There’s a deep, deep family bond because to me; this is family. I don’t have any separation in my mind between family and the business. It’s all family. It’s probably why I feel like my coworkers are my family so much because I just don’t have another perspective.
I hope that my stamp, so far in the business, has been expanding the geography. As well as really reinvesting in technology and staying at the cutting edge of the industry of what we can do. But, I think there’s a lot more to come,” said Colin Wetlaufer, President of CITY.