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Afonwen Laundry

Origins

Despite its long history - having originally supported the war effort in 1939-1945 in washing many of the military training camps - the business was, until the 1980s, mainly focused on providing a domestic delivery and collection service before the advent of affordable domestic washing machines. In the 1980s, it grew organically in changing its business model to focus on the hotel market place but it was not until the mid to late 1990s that this really started to take off helped by investment in improving the transport infrastructure with the opening of the A55 Expressway which enabled the business to gain access to the North West of England hotel market place. The opening of its Cardiff operation two years ago transformed the business and it has doubled in size, now supplying over 24 hotels across Cardiff alone as well as many of the major hotels throughout South Wales and beyond and supplying almost 700,000 items of linen throughout South and Mid Wales and South and South West England from Cardiff.

Success Factor

The company has invested over £13m in building two of the most operationally efficient laundries in the United Kingdom which can now process over 1.4 million items of linen every week, a great deal of laundry by anyone’s standards! Afonwen has also built strong relationships with its customers and expanded its business on the back of rapid expansion in the hotel market, focusing on the fastest growing segment in the hotel sector - the budget hotel sector – and creating capacity to support the substantial growth seen in new hotel openings. Finally, Afonwen has a strong reputation for delivering a high quality and reliable service which out performs many of the more traditional operators in its sector who have not taken on the substantial investment required to deliver a high quality service.

The Future

Afonwen has recently signed a lease to double the size of its current Cardiff production facility which is almost full after two years of trading. The company is planning on growing its turnover from £16m to over £20m in the next few years whilst improving its profitability and maintaining and improving the service to its customer base trough further geographic expansion to cover an ever larger part of the hotel market.