This business based in Sant’Albano Stura, that services 300 restaurants and hotels in Piemonte and Liguria, has managed to reach breakeven at the end of this terrible 2020 in spite of the three-month lockdown. It was possible thanks to the strength of a family that, for three generations, has invested in both the technological innovation and the relations with clients. They also declared sustainability among their most important objectives, having installed an internal water depurator ten years ago

The strength of relaxed nerves” read the slogan of one of the famous Carosello commercials in the ‘70s.
Perhaps back then, the Martinengo brothers were among millions of Italian teenagers who used to go to sleep right after Carosello, and perhaps this incredibly difficult current year needs some points of strength as a reference in order to proceed with the so much wanted recovery. This is what Fabrizio Martinengo, the CEO of an industrial laundry called Lavanderia Industriale Martinengo communicates by showing his natural and involving strength. We are speaking about a textile care business that, just to be clear, in spite of the three-month lockdown, is closing year 2020 presenting a turnover that is in line with that of 2019, more than two million euros.
Quoting the figures, the CEO conveys his elegant and reassuring energy, the same we can see in the photo of the company’s van illuminated by a rainbow, a sign of hope for the recovery in 2021

These are positive feelings, clearly noticeable also when Fabrizio Martinengo is telling us about facts and people making part of this prosperous business, interested in innovation, well rooted in the industrial, rich territory of Sant’Albano Stura, in the province of Cuneo. “There are no particular secrets behind our story – he clarifies – but simply a family united by a common, strongly shared business project”.
“Today, Martinengo laundry – he continues – treats “white” linen, as we say it in our sector. Flatwork linen rental is our core business.
We service about 300 hotels and restaurants in Piemonte and Liguria. Everything started from a dry-cleaning store opened in 1984 by our parents, my dad Adriano and my mom, Celestina, who is still working with us. She comes to work every day.”
“It was the time of great expansion for laundry services – recalls Martinengo – therefore, it was natural that in the beginning of the ’90s, when many various factories of casual wear opened around here, also the textile care sector started growing steadily. Jeans producers needed a laundry to integrate their work processes, and it was during that time that I, once an adult, started working for the family business, just a few years before my brother Enrico did as well. With time, also my wife Silvia and later, our son Francesco entered the company, while my sister Cristina is in charge of accountancy”.
The family imprint, crucial in the starting stage of the business, has also allowed the Martinengo laundry the necessary flexibility to adapt to market changes. Today, the strong entrepreneurial vision of the family has helped the brand to evolve and develop their commercial aspect thanks to the collaboration with sales agents who assure their widespread, professional presence all over the territory. Currently, there are 29 employees working at the laundry – direct and indirect ones – treating 15t of linen per day on average. These are important figures deriving from a constantly innovated technology which is reflected by, e.g. the recent acquisition of a new tunnel washer, already a second machine of this type purchased by the laundry.

Technological innovation allowed to optimize work processes even further. They are currently regulated by the digital tracking of linen pieces. The introduction of such high automation was necessary to assure the full satisfaction of clients and to meet the demand of important structures in terms of work volumes and prestige. Four vans and two Eurocargo trucks of the company supply linen to high-end hotels and restaurants in Piemonte and Liguria. “We have given ourselves a strict imperative to always offer a high-quality service and timely delivery – explains the CEO –. On the other hand, we service clients who, in order to manager their daily change of linen in hotels and restaurants, rely on our accuracy and professionality”.
The current quality standards that the Martinengo laundry can count on are guaranteed, for instance, by work processes where automation levels limit human interventions down to the final finishing operations and by an internal water depurator that, for the last ten years, has discharged 4,3 liters of water per 1kg of treated linen (when normally it takes twice as much). “All the investments we made – explains Fabrizio Martinengo – allowed the company to always be technologically advanced and ahead as far as sustainability goes. We want to contribute to the protection of the environment, and today we can actually say that we have taken big steps forward in this direction thanks to the use of Green products and sanitizing detergents”.
The image of the Industrial Laundry Martinengo is that of an authentic “engine” of the territory, a vital clog in tourism, food and wine, and restaurants. “Today, we are actually even more requested than before – clarifies the CEO – because hotels and restaurants need more and more pondered and targeted services, paying attention to the type of fabrics, fashion trends or colors”.
“The constant increase in turnover, until it doubled over the last decade – continues Martinengo – proves that our company policy, even of very ambitious at times, has turned out successful. We are going to break even at the end of this year which is mainly due to the lockdown caused by the Covid pandemic. Our new goal for year 2021, that is already taking shape, is to reach a significant increase”.
“This way, we will be able to move on with the necessary expansion of our warehouse in 2022 in order to further develop the business ” concludes Mr. Fabrizio Martinengo.
Quality work, sustainability as one of the main goals, the ability to plan and clear ideas. This is how we can explain the unique strength of the Martinengo Industrial Laundry. •

by Stefano Ferrio
Detergo Magazine November 2020