Westchester based linen firm White Plains Linen, led by Bruce Botchman provides eco-friendly linen options for Metro New York’s restaurant and hospitality industry. The Peekskill, New York firm boasts a very knowledgeable sales and support team that has a clear understanding of the changing landscape.
“My grandfather started the business in 1937. He traveled Greenwich and all the wealthy areas around White Plains supplying maid uniforms,” remarked Botchman about the roots of White Plains Linen. The energetic Botchman has been in the linen business since 1973 and ten years before that worked folding aprons. “I started when I was fourteen, that’s around fifty years ago,” Botchman commented.
Botchman’s imprint may very well have never taken place. “I didn’t want to be in the family business, but I built it from six hundred thousand to close to 60 million when I took over this year.”
The growth of White Plains Linen reflects its ability to listen to a changing marketplace. The company wasn’t in the tablecloth business initially because aprons were more profitable. “My grandfather served delis and pizza parlors and the apron was 50 cents a rental. He got it because it was cotton and it was able to make a big difference. “
Despite being a food enthusiast his whole life, Mr. Botchman ventured into linen and became passionate about it thanks to his uncle. “My uncle started my engine roaring. He had a vision and insight on the industry. He bestowed this upon me, and I became passionate about the business.”
Botchman sees a major change in the marketplace. “In many cases today, we see more focus on the design and fabric for the napkin than on the use of a tablecloth. We see many of our customers opting for custom-made Italian napkins. It is an uphill battle because the cost of the operations and a new world of minimum wage increases are coming on. We had a dollar increase as everyone else did for the cost of our goods, and this costs us a million dollars a year,” remarked Botchman.
Botchman believes that one of the reasons why restaurants have decided to focus on napkins is because the society has gone casual. “We don’t wear ties, shirts or jackets anymore. We are a casual society. Everything is casual, and for this reason, we are finding more and more restaurants without linen on their tables.”
Botchman also points to a key reason to take a second look at continuing to utilize a tablecloth.
“Use of linen is said to be much more sanitary. Most people don’t get to see how the average table is cleaned.”
The expansion of the family owned company to become one of the biggest linen suppliers in New York City is truly a tale that inspires courage and confidence among hoteliers. The management and its commitment to its employees and clients are no doubt some of the reasons that have seen the establishment achieve such heights.
The company started with fifteen employees and currently has six hundred and fifty. “It’s like the American dream,” commented Botchman. The company has grown to be one of the biggest suppliers to fine dining in New York.
To learn more about White Plains Linen, visit their website.