Over the course of Lindström’s history, the company has grown from a fabric dyeing house into a laundry and onwards to become a professional in textile renting. The family-owned business with a history dating back more than 165 years has been among the pioneers of its field throughout the years of its operation.
1848 Lindström is established
Carl August Lindström established Lindström in 1848. At the beginning, the company operated as a textile dyeing house in Helsinki in the area of the current Parliament House. In the 1880s, the dyeing house was complemented by a laundry providing a new service called dry cleaning. The shop was named C. A. Lindström & Son.
Growth started in the 1890s
Due to the generation change that took place in 1891, Lindström’s name was changed to W. E. Lindström and strong expansion began. By 1913, the company’s personnel had increased from a few family members to 55 employees and it had moved to larger premises in Helsinki.
Company acquisition and new owner in the 1920s
In 1922, W. E. Lindström Oy’s share capital was purchased by Uusi Pesula Oy, specialising in white laundry, whose principal shareholder was Chief Engineer Johan Roiha. The company became one of the largest actors in the field in the Nordic countries.
Textile renting begins in the 1930s
Small-scale textile renting operations were launched in the 1930s. The company rented linen, sheets, table cloths and napkins as well as doctor and barber’ coats for its customers. In 1939, the company laundered 2.4 million kilos of textiles and its number of employees had increased to 300.
Shortages in the 1940s require improvisation
Steam production required continuous heating of the boilers and, due to the fuel shortage, firewood was used for heating. The daily firewood consumption was 70 m³, and the company purchased standing forest to satisfy its fuel need.
Investment in clothing renting increases in the 1950s
Even though the share of private laundry in the company’s turnover was over 80%, Manager Eino Roiha saw the company’s future as increasingly linked to the renting of workwear and textiles. The decision was also furthered by a new fabric type developed in the USA that required no ironing or pressing.
Renting of towel roll dispensers in the 1960s
In 1965, Lindström also started to rent towel roll dispensers. At the same time, the share of private laundry started to decline, mostly due to the availability of automatic home washing machines.
Renting mats in the 1970s
In 1971, the mat rental operations were launched. Three years later, Lindström acquired its competitors Lainatekstiilit Oy and Cleaner Oy, thus strengthening its market position as a company providing rental services of workwear, towel roll dispensers and mats. The operations of the textile dyeing house were discontinued due to poor demand and profitability.
Concentration and internationalisation in the 1990s
The company gave up its cleaning and waste management operations as well as laundry shops and concentrated on textile renting. In 1992, Lindström established its first subsidiary in Estonia. This was followed by the establishments of subsidiaries in Russia (1993), Hungary (1994), Latvia (1994), the Czech Republic (1996), Lithuania (1998), Slovakia (1998) and Slovenia (1998).
Modular laundry got a patent in the early 2000s
In autumn 2002, Lindström’s internationally unique innovation, modular laundry, was granted a patent. In the early 2000s, Comforta Oy, specialising in hotel textiles, was also established. In 2005, Lindström acquired Vision Design Oy, specialising in corporate textiles and PR products, and expanded its corporate clothing offering to personal protective equipment.
Asian business operations were launched in 2006
Lindström continued its strong internationalisation in the 2000s. In Europe, operations were expanded to Great Britain (2001), Germany (2002), Poland (2002), Sweden (2002), Romania (2005), Ukraine (2006), Turkey (2007) and Bulgaria (2008). In 2006, the operations were expanded to Asia when a subsidiary was established in China and, a year later, in India.
Growth continues in the 2010s
In 2011, Lindström expanded its operations to Belarus and Croatia. The subsidiaries in Serbia and Kazakhstan started in 2014. In 2013, Lindström’s turnover was over €300 million and it employed 2,900 people in Europe and Asia. The company continues its strong growth.