ENDICOTT — HealthWear Rental, Inc. — which supplies and launders medical and massage linens, patient gowns, medical uniforms, lab coats, and more — is preparing to relocate and double the size of its production facility.
The new facility is located at 8 North Cleveland Place in the village of Endicott, about a block from the company’s current home at 703 North St., which HealthWear Rental has been located since 2005.
The new leased building is about 9,500 square feet, with a big lot for potential future expansion, Mark Berghorn, president of HealthWear Rental, says in an email interview. The company’s current location is 4,800 square feet, following a couple expansions over the years to boost its square footage from the original 2,000 square feet.
HealthWear Rental is looking at a likely September move-in but has flexibility because the lease at its current facility runs through the end of the year, he says.
The business looked at moving out of the area, including over the Pennsylvania border, but ultimately decided to stay in Endicott.
In explaining why, Berghorn says, “Ultimately it was our people. We have a lot of staff that live in close proximity to our facility. They play a big part in our growth and our relationships we’ve developed with our customers through the years. With businesses struggling to find workers, we didn’t want to face the potential issue of having to replace a valuable part of our workforce.”
HealthWear Rental needed to expand because with its growth, it has become a challenge to keep up with processing. “We are limited by the number of washers, dryers, and finishing equipment we currently have. We’ve had to set our workflow around our current facility, and it isn’t as efficient as it should be,” the company president says.
By enabling the addition of more equipment, the new facility will allow HealthWear Rental to decrease the amount of time its production facility needs to be open. It will also enable a better workflow, boosting efficiency, says Berghorn.
HealthWear Rental currently employs 30 people. The firm says additional jobs have already been created in anticipation of the move. Once the new facility opens, an additional five to 10 jobs are expected.
HealthWear Rental serves the Southern Tier of New York, Central New York, and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. It does not service linen for hospitals and nursing homes. The company’s customers include surgical centers, primary-care providers, urgent-care centers, dental offices, oral-surgery centers, and physical therapy and licensed massage-therapy providers. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of these customers have added more protective patient gowns and other garments to their orders, says Berghorn.
At the beginning of March, HealthWear Rental’s sales were up 17 percent year to date, compared to 2019 levels, he says. In the period following mid-March, the firm had segments of its customer base close, either by forced shutdown or lack of patients, he explains. Its urgent care, primary care, and testing and treatment customers also saw few patients through this time. As of July 2020, HealthWear Rental customers have reopened to levels prior to March, but some have closed permanently, while others are operating at reduced levels.
Currently the company’s sales are 10 percent off early March levels, but still 5 percent above 2019 year-to-date levels, per Berghorn.
MAKKS Realty, LLC purchased the 8 North Cleveland Place building and will lease it to HealthWear Rental. Berghorn is the sole owner of both companies.