ITALIAN TALENT — “Industrial” with a dry-cleaning corner The success of Colombi model


Following in his mother’s footsteps, Andrea Colombi started his laundry business before turning thirty. He started it in Carrara to service restaurants and other businesses based in the territory. Washing and ironing linen together with his employees, and having realized what the real needs of the market were, he adjusted some space in the factory for a dry-cleaning corner. Thanks to this solution, the business is currently servicing private customers as well. Nobody minds travelling all the way to the industrial district of the town to have their garments treated in such a professional way

A well-developed and thorough sense of proportion has inspired and guided the story of the Colombi industrial laundry, a well-known business by hotels, restaurants, companies and sports clubs in Carrara and the province. The laundry rents, washes and irons important volumes of linen and garments. Since last year, it also has been providing a dry-cleaning service. The team is guided by the thirty-year old Andrea Colombi who, rather than being called “the owner” appears more like “a captain”, if we want to remain within sports terminology.

“I personally wash and iron linen when it is necessary – Andrea Colombi reveals – because I find it very important to participate in the everyday life of the company. As a matter of fact, shifts sharing allows me to stay in a continuous contact with the reality that I need to face together with eight employees working with me. Just to clarify, the staff are hired on the basis of permanent contracts which means that everyone works here all year long without any seasonal changes”.

“This also reflects the philosophy of our company – continues Colombi -as we are all involved in our high-quality production. Quality is the only reason why we are recognized and chosen by our clients. Actually, when we decided to open a dry-cleaning service for families and private customers, it was enough to set it in a corner of the factory without necessarily opening a shop in the town. Customers showed up right away”.

Andrea Colombi is clearly satisfied to tell a story where, after having faced not few sacrifices, today, the figures fully add up. “Everything started one day, during a long wedding party back in 2010 – he recalls. – I was twenty-nine years old at that time and I realized I wanted to try to have something that would be mine, something that would make me be known and appreciated”.

What is better than taking the road already taken by the family? “Yes, because right there, I felt I had taken after my mother workwise – reveals the businessman from Tuscany. – Simonetta Morelli started working at a laundry when she was 15 years old. When she was 18, she took a big step forward and opened her own business, a dry-cleaning shop called Candor, that closed in 2018. Her advice, just like my father’s Domenico, and the support of my wife Cristel, were decisive. Thanks to their support, I could launch myself into this adventure choosing the industrial laundry sector for my business activity from the start”.

Nine years have passed since that summer of 2010. They taught Andrea Colombi many things and resulted in solid achievements, e.g. of moving from the initial hundred square meters to five hundred square meters where the factory is currently operating. “First of all, I have learned to perceive quality as the only valid reason for the existence of my business – Colombi explains – through a series of consequently taken decisions. Therefore, our loyal employees work under permanent work contracts, working days are composed of 8 and not 15 hours, our portfolio consists of 50 qualified clients over the Carrara territory, linen is rented at a fair price of the market and not sold out only to comply with the downward price battle that has been destroying half of our sector and we are engaged in an open, continuous debate with machine suppliers, ideally consultants more than salesmen”.

“With time, I have learned to optimize the use of machines – says Andrea Colombi. – For example, I know what is the best way to use an ironer that produces two hundred kg of linen per hour, and I can make it work in a way that will always pay its cost back”.

Also, with time, the moment to set a dry-cleaning corner inside the factory came. This way, now, it is possible to withdraw and deliver not only linen and tablecloths for restaurants and hotels but also garments for the families of Carrara. “A bet has been won – comments Andrea Colombi – because we acted after long and careful considerations knowing that quality laundry is slowly becoming extinct. As a matter of fact, when we opened the dry-cleaning service, a large number of clients showed up immediately, and today, we can truly say that the Colombi laundry is servicing the entire territory “.

With 2020 at the door, here is where the sense of proportion can take us.


by Stefano Ferrio