Since 1932, Prudential Overall Supply continues to provide best-in-class solutions for businesses for uniforms and textile rental programs. Service programs include uniform rental, uniform lease, uniform purchase, and cleanroom services for industrial uniform programs and related services. Prudential is grateful for the exceptional work produced by our industry-best tenured employees, and to our exceptional customer patronage. It is this connection that enables Prudential to provide our customers with the best possible products and service at a fair price, today and into the future.
PRUDENTIAL OVERALL SUPPLY HISTORY
Prudential was founded on April 11, 1932, when John D. Clark traded in his Model A Ford Sports Roadster for a used truck in order to start his own uniform laundry service company for workers who were unable to properly care for their uniforms. He called his business “Prudential Laundry,” thinking that the name suggested strength and character. The business was located in Los Angeles, where Clark had moved from his native Iowa.
Executives in the young and growing U.S. automotive industry and other businesses were beginning to be interested in how uniforms could distinguish a business by enhancing the appearance, and in some cases the safety, of employees.
Within seven years, Clark had moved his company from a small shed to a 22,000-square-foot facility. His parents, Garnette and John Orr Clark, left Iowa to join their son’s business in California. John’s siblings also joined the business. Bernice Clark Shoberg retired from the company as special projects manager in 1991. Frank Clark retired in 1987 as general manager of Prudential’s Chula Vista plant. He passed away in 2006.
Another Clark brother, Don, joined Prudential in 1960 after coaching at the University of Southern California. Don Clark served as president of Prudential from 1972-1984, when he became chairman. He was still serving as chairman when he passed away in 1989.
Founder John D. Clark was still serving as chairman emeritus and coming into the office nearly every day when he passed away in 1991 at age 82. Today, Prudential carries on its founder’s belief in the importance of leading by example, keeping commitments, caring for and nurturing the family, and continual effort to improve.
During the 1940s, Prudential began renting uniforms as well as laundering them. Prudential was among the first members of its industry to join this emerging trend that later became a standard practice. The initial investment in a substantial uniform inventory took time to pay off, but eventually led to great success for Prudential. The company purchased increasingly specialized merchandise for rental and today, the rental business generates 95 percent of Prudential revenues.
Historically significant accomplishments of Prudential include cleaning of gas masks for military personnel during World War II. The company received attention for its work during the war and its credit rating improved as a result, helping make possible business expansion with new equipment and materials.
A generation later, Prudential developed the first dust-free, contaminant-free garments, supporting NASA’s efforts that culminated in astronaut John Glenn’s 1962 mission to orbit the earth.
From a single shirt-press and three pant presses in use during the 1940s, Prudential has advanced to 1,200-pound washer extractors, each equal to 120 home washing machines. Increasingly high-tech equipment, all required to comply with strict state and federal environmental regulations, includes industrial-sized dryers, shirt presses, pant presses, mat washers and dryers, mop cleaning systems, boilers, generators, garment distribution conveyor lines, and the very specialized, complex systems in Prudential’s hi-tech cleanroom garment processing facilities.
In 1963, Prudential initiated its industrial cleanroom garment service, then called a “white room.” Since then, Prudential has developed an international reputation for expertise in sterile garment and protective wear processing for “cleanroom” use by companies that manufacture products and operate in controlled environments. Cleanroom laundering services decontaminate workwear used in industries such as bioscience, medical devices, optics, pharmaceuticals, paint-spray, semi-conductor and others.
In 2003 the American Medical Review television series profiled Prudential in a story about cleanroom laundry and related processes.
In 1978, Prudential opened its first facility outside California, in Arizona, beginning the national and international phase of the company’s history. By 1989, Prudential was operating successfully in both California and Arizona. Since then, domestic operations have expanded to include locations in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts and Virginia. Prudential also has a facility in Malaysia and provides services in Tijuana, Mexico and in Puerto Rico. Prudential’s expertise in cleanroom services has been part of the driving force for the expansion and subsequent more than doubling of revenues, while keeping costs in line.
The Prudential roster of over 25,000 customers includes more than 300 that have utilized the company’s services for more than 35 years, and more than 1,250 customers that first signed on for service more than 25 years ago. Prudential currently serves 110 Fortune 500 companies.
By 2012, Prudential had grown to 27 locations. Prudential has 1,500 employees, many of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years. In some cases, two or three generations of families have spent their careers at POS.
Prudential’s Total Quality Service philosophy drives how the company is managed and how employees are trained. The “Route to Success” training program greatly reduces any service interruptions and instills the motto, “Do it right the first time.”