OSHKOSH, Wis.–Continental Girbau Inc. (Continental) recently held a two-day celebration marking its 20th year in business. Formed in 1995 as Girbau S.A.’s North American subsidiary, Continental has grown to become an industry-leading provider of on-premise, vended and industrial laundry solutions, according to Continental President, Mike Floyd.
More than 150 business partners, staff, distributors, community officials and friends participated in Continental’s anniversary celebration, in Oshkosh, Wis., Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 23 and 24. Wednesday’s events included an open house and tour at Continental’s headquarters, followed by a presentation and reception at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Air Venture Museum. Keynote speakers included Floyd; Mercé Girbau (Girbau), co-CEO, Girbau S.A.; Brian Wallace, president and CEO, Coin Laundry Association (CLA); John Casper, president and CEO, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce; and John Riddle, senior vice president, LG Home Appliances.
“The formation of Continental came before I joined Girbau S.A.,” said Girbau. “But I know it took a lot of negotiation between my father, Santi Carol, Len Kafer and Mike Floyd. My father wanted to establish distribution in the United States. Today, Continental accounts for 25 percent of Girbau’s total sales.”
Floyd went on to describe the challenges and joys involved with helping launch a company from scratch and thanked Continental’s business partners, staff, parent company and distributors for their support and help along the way. The company’s six original employees were also recognized for 20 years of service. Five of the six still serve Continental; one has retired.
“I remember the first day at Continental,” Floyd said. “I sat on the floor of a vacant office building and wondered what I’d gotten myself into.” Continental, according to Floyd, grew quickly into an industry leader – and over the years – introduced multiple products, brands and divisions.
The celebration continued throughout the next day – Thursday – with a group tour of Lambeau Field/Packer Hall of Fame, in Green Bay, Wis., and golf outing in Green Lake, Wis. A riverside tailgate party at the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Waterfront Hotel, in Oshkosh, culminated the event.
Continental has balooned since 1995 – expanding product offerings; serving new niche markets; establishing new brands, divisions and subsidiaries; investing in facility expansions and additions; expanding its professional distributor network; and continuing its commitment to environment, community, service and quality. In two decades, revenue has grown substantially – by 22 percent from 2001 to 2006; by 34 percent from 2006 to 2011; and by 21 percent from 2011 to 2014. Similarly, so has Continental’s product offering. Altogether, Continental provides 90 individual laundry products engineered for a variety of unique laundry systems.
Locally, the company supports organizations in need; partners with and supports Oshkosh area hotels, restaurants, printers, photographers and schools; and owns and runs a local business – the Express Laundry Center – a full-service, card- and coin-operated, high-speed laundry.
Success, according to Floyd is the simple result of committed hard work and the development and nurturing of personal relationships.