While Mission Linen Supply receives Carpinteria’s Large Business of the Year award at the Community Awards Banquet on Jan. 21, a look beyond the shining spotlight will reveal why. Those napkins used to dab damp eyes and save formalwear from spills? Mission Linen. Those black and red tablecloths that help transform the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium into an elegant banquet venue? Mission Linen. And what’s really important is that the Community Awards Banquet is just one of dozens of local nonprofit events where the company’s generosity is evident.
“Every organization that I personally know benefits from Mission Linen’s philosophy of giving back to the communities in which they live and work,” said Terry Hickey Banks, Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce boardmember. “Their philosophy is not just words. They truly live it.”
The Santa Barbara-based company was founded in 1930 by George “Ben” Page as a one-man laundry operation. Over the years, Mission Linen expanded its services to include linen and uniform rentals as well as the service and sale of apparel, mats and janitorial products. Still owned by the family of founder Ben Page, Mission has grown to serve five western states with more than 2,500 employees and 43 facilities.
“We are, at the heart, a service company,” said Mission Linen President/CEO John Ross. Customers range from small eateries with a handful of tables to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Sansum Clinic. The Palms in Carpinteria has been a client since 1951, and Carpinteria Unified School District since the 1970s.
Staff also matters to Mission Linen, as evidenced by the average employee’s tenure of 15 years. David Taggart, pictured at far left above, has clocked in at Mission Linen for 62 years. His is the friendly face behind the wheel of the company’s 1923 Model T that chugs along the route of many area parades.
Carpinterian Curtis Lopez has worked for Mission Linen for 27 years. He managed various plants and rose through the company ranks to his current position of purchasing director. An active member of the Carpinteria community, Lopez is a long-time member of the Carpinteria Lions Club and a boardmember for Carpinteria Education Foundation and Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Through Lopez, Mission Linen has become a prominent sponsor and in-kind donor to a wide array of Carpinteria causes. Lopez said that it’s part of what makes the company unique and brings him pride in his work. “They give us the liberty to help,” he said.