A story of a company created and developed near Cesena in the sign of thorough ad detailed artisan work. First, the dry-cleaning shop opened by Mrs. Adriana Baraghini, then the structure opened by her husband, Gilberto Ravaioli and their two sons, Ivan and Andrea. Started thirty years ago with just one client, the business has now reached a yearly turnover of 1.8 million euros working with hotels and restaurants of the area and employing forty people in summer
The scent of clean linen is a remarkable mainspring in the history of Pulilampo, an industrial laundry based in Mercato Saraceno, Forlì-Cesena province. More than smelling it, Mr. Gilberto Ravaioli guessed it one day in the morning in 1989 when, standing in front of the dry-cleaning shop run by his wife Adriana Baraghini, he saw their competitor’s truck passing by. Gilberto knows his stuff when it comes to cars and trucks as he used to work for a freight business for a long time. Thanks to his wife’s business activity, he then started to get better and better knowledge on textile care as well. Therefore, once he focused on the adjective “industrial” right before the noun “laundry” written on the side of that truck, he began to get information on what the words really meant, and what it would take to start a business adventure in this direction.
The scent of clean linen left by that truck was enough for the intuitive Gilberto Ravaioli to start his own industrial laundry few days later. It is called Pulilampo. The very few means to his disposal at that time, one million lire (less than a thousand euros today) and a strong spirit of the business, that is actually the very soul of the entire family as we will later see, were enough to start the activity, buy two small washing machines and start servicing his only client.
Like in a good movie, it is enough to change scenes to be able to grasp the meaning of historical transformations. Let us move to the present times of Pulilampo. The business is run by Mr. Ravaioli, Ivan who looks after the production and Andrea who works in the commercial department. Thirty years of a growing family-business activity in total that translate to a tunnel washer that treats 120 quintals of linen per day, a clamp feeder that speeds up the ironing operations and a glass structure that incorporates the factory giving it a transparent and dynamic image coherent with the spirit of Pulilampo business.
“You can tell that us, the sons, have inherited the same love for the scent of clean linen – explains Andrea Ravaioli – which we followed like a real company mission. Still as teenagers, we spent all days at the laundry so that our contribution to the company’s development would begin with an everyday practice “. Work practice that in the areas of Forlì and Cesena, near Rimini and Milano Marittima, led the business to entering the blooming field of hospitality constituted by hotels and restaurants to which Pulilampo supplies and rents linen. “In summer, we hire forty employees. The number goes down to twenty in winter – clarifies Andrea Ravaioli – while as far as the promotion goes, we can count on the word of mouth, which is a powerful means here. Otherwise, I cannot explain how we could possibly move from servicing five to sixty clients in Bellaria over two years”.
The business multiplies its annual turnover through “natural” effects. It has now reached 1.8 m euros. Nevertheless, for the Ravaioli family, these are just “stages” along the development path where everything refers to the daily cult of the artisan quality work which then translates to contracts but also to investments aiming at a lively and reliable image of the laundry. “We are highly satisfied by works through which we have recently improved environments, wellbeing standards and production organization – concludes Andrea Ravaioli – and now, with the same passion and enthusiasm, we are focusing on the website update as well as the social networks and the entire communication methodology by Pulilampo”.
Because, as we have understood it, once smelled, the clean linen scent stays forever.
by Stefano Ferrio
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