- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s protective clothing and work-wear industry has a boost from the oil boom.

The amount of business has increased one local laundering service’s workload and enticed another to move to the area. Clothing and shoe stores in the area have expanded to carry the gear workers need.

AmeriPride’s Bismarck operation is one of the fastest growing company wide, mostly due to business from the oil and gas industry, Communications Director Ben Saukko told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1k9u1cK).

“Those branches (near an oil field) are growing exponentially more than the company as a whole,” he said.


AmeriPride started operating in Bismarck in the 1970s and opened its laundering plant in 1982, General Manager Rick Siebels said.

G&K Services, a Minneapolis-based uniform service company that offers much of what AmeriPride does, has had locations in North Dakota since 1996 but just moved to Bismarck about two years ago.

Washers that can handle between 500 and 1,000 pounds of greasy uniforms, door mats, towels and aprons tumble nearly 24 hours a day at AmeriPride’s plant in south Bismarck. Siebels said the company’s 140 employees clean and supply the fabrics used by businesses across western North Dakota and eastern Montana.

The company provides uniforms, laundering services and paper goods to a number of industries, including auto mechanics, medical clinics, restaurants and coal mines.

Looking at the bags, bins and the overhead conveyor belt, one sees lots of coveralls. In the last three years, the oil and gas industry has become a significant part of Ameripride’s customer base, Siebels said.

Whenever a customer hires a new employee, AmeriPride takes the employee’s measurements to find a uniform to fit. The company carries fire retardant clothing and other protective gear specifically needed to work in the oil industry.

If an employee’s uniform needs mending or the employee needs a different size, AmeriPride takes care of that. Everything is folded, pressed, packaged and delivered to the customer’s work site by one of the company’s 50 trucks, Siebels said.

The plant runs two shifts, Monday through Friday, processing about 80 loads of laundry a day on average.

AmeriPride has been in business in North Dakota for quite some time. When oil production boomed it brought new challenges for the company.

To deal with the heavily greased uniforms of many oil field workers, AmeriPride’s chemical and detergent supply company, Ecolab, had to come up with a special formula to get clothes clean, Siebels said. The company was used to dealing with greasy mechanics’ uniforms but nothing like what the oil field brings in.

“Sometimes they just get saturated,” Siebels said.

Story Continues →