Manchester Outlook: At 85, E&R Cleaners reaffirms commitment to Queen City

E&R Cleaners of Manchester is celebrating its 85th anniversary by completing its transition into a new 80,000-square-foot processing facility on Gold Street in Manchester that enables the company to streamline operations by consolidating six laundry and dry-cleaning processing facilities into one.

The new facility also will allow E&R to continue the growth it has been experiencing over the last 20 years, said Rick Botnick, general manager of the firm.

“Our new facility will allow us to continue in that tradition and expand our service territory, which now encompasses much of New England,” Botnick said.

According to Botnick, E&R’s new processing facility is equipped with the latest in dry cleaning and laundry technologies, including energy-efficient washers and dryers, electronic bar coding and a video system to ensure quality and efficiency in the cleaning process.

As a result of the more efficient operations, Botnick said the company will cut electricity usage by 10 percent and natural gas consumption by 40 percent while conserving 10 million gallons of water each year.

The company was founded in 1921 and purchased by the Botnick family in 1986. Today, E&R has a workforce of over 200 employees having grown by 300 percent since the Botnicks bought the company.

A large part of E&R’s growth is the result of its expanded uniform rental and laundry service, Botnick said. The service has grown from two routes to nine, providing uniform rental and laundering services for over 800 businesses throughout the Northeast, including the New York Times, Velcro USA, Fisher Scientific, Raytheon and Segway.

The uniform rental and laundry service accounts for approximately 40 percent of E&R’s business, said Botnick.

E&R’s retail operation includes two stores in Manchester and one in Bedford. It also provides pickup and delivery service for personal laundry and dry cleaning to thousands of homes and businesses in 14 southern New Hampshire communities.

In addition, E&R provides pickup and delivery laundry service to students at more than 90 private schools, colleges and universities from Maine to New Jersey.

Botnick said E&R also is committed to its workforce, with employee benefits that include a profit-sharing program that earmarks approximately 15 percent of the company’s annual profits and distributes it back to full-time workers who have been employed for the entire calendar year. The company also embraces the diversity of its staff, he said — E&R has offered free English-as-a-second-language courses to interested employees and even pays a bonus to those employees who choose to attend.

In fact, said Botnick, E&R’s commitment to its employees was what ultimately kept the company in Manchester when it realized it needed to expand to a new facility.

In 2004, the company was aggressively pursued by East Hartford, Conn., which offered E&R a package of real estate and tax benefits to relocate. Botnick met with East Hartford officials on two separate occasions but ultimately made the decision to expand within Manchester.

“We’re proud of our history in Manchester and wanted to stay. At the end of the day we realized that moving to Connecticut would be leaving our greatest asset behind – our employees,” said Botnick. “We’re committed to Manchester and the state of New Hampshire. It’s a great place to live and do business,” said Botnick.

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