An online uniform outsourcing service is helping the business attract larger companies as customers.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
NORTH JACKSON -- A uniform and promotional products company that had its beginnings in a Canfield couple's home just 17 months ago has expanded into new headquarters on Mahoning Avenue in North Jackson.
Owners Paul and Julie Pinto started their business, ImageOne Uniforms Inc., in March 2001, offering custom embroidery, silk screening services and work uniforms for sale.
Sales have grown, prompting the move into a 3,600-square-foot facility in the Jackson Hole Plaza, 12274 Mahoning Ave. The owners added a retail showroom for walk-in customers.
Internet sales helped the couple develop customers across the country, and the addition of a Web-based uniform outsourcing service for larger companies gave them a unique and productive edge.
Companies that require employees to wear uniforms daily often hire employees to run their uniform program and set up an in-house store where employees can order their uniforms at work, Pinto explained.
With the ImageOne site employers can shed those responsibilities, allowing their employees to deal directly with the uniform supplier online.
So far, he said, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Retirement Homes in Austintown, Franciscan University in Steubenville and ComDoc in Akron are using the outsourcing service.
Pinto drew on his five years of experience as a manager for UniFirst Corp., a Wilmington, Mass. uniform sales and leasing business and a leader in the industry.
He joined the company after earning bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Franciscan University.
Work for company
Pinto worked for the company in Pittsburgh, Tampa and Connecticut before the couple decided to follow their dream and start their own small business.
They moved from Connecticut to the Canfield area because Julie Pinto has a brother living nearby in Austintown, and they wanted a family-friendly community in which to raise their children. Pinto is a New York state native, and his wife grew up in Steubenville.
From a business standpoint, he said, they chose the Youngstown-Warren area because of its central location between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and between Chicago and New York City.
When it came time to choose a headquarters for the business, they picked the North Jackson site because of its proximity to the Ohio Turnpike and to the Federal Express office where they ship much of their merchandise.
The business, which is celebrating its grand opening with an open house until 6 p.m. today, can provide businesses with uniforms of all kinds, embroidered or silk screened with the company logo.
Casual wear, such as T-shirts, ball caps and sweaters, and medical scrubs are also available.
The company employs eight.