One of Henderson’s oldest family-owned industries has been sold to a giant competitor.
Industrial uniform and linen provider Sitex Corp., which traces its roots back 63 years, was acquired by Cintas Corp., a Fortune 500 company.
“We’re a Cintas company now,” said Sitex CEO Wes Sights in an interview.
“We closed the transaction Jan. 19,” Sights said. “Cintas bought our business, including the real estate in Henderson” that includes its headquarters and industrial laundry plant. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Sitex employed about 125 people, including approximately 100 in Henderson and the remainder at four branch locations in the region. “Most all of them will” be retained by Cintas, Sights said. “They need employees like everyone else.”
Because of deadline constraints, the Hendersonian was unable to seek comment from Cintas for this story.
Wes Sights said he and his brother, company President Jon L. Sights, had been seeking a buyer for their business and property.
“Jon and I have been contemplating retirement for a couple of years,” Sights said. “Business has been very good, and we had an opportunity last August and September to have multiple interested parties” inquire about buying Sitex.
“We packaged our business where they’ve got to buy the whole thing,” Sights said. The package is comprised of both the business and real estate that includes the Sitex headquarters and industrial laundry plant here, he said.
“We’re fortunate Cintas is the direction it went,” he said of the transaction. “Keeping the plant (open) and employees was critical to us.”
“We’ve admired their business and think they (admire) ours also,” Sights said.
“They’re in our markets (such as) Nashville, Louisville and Lexington,” and Cintas operates a uniform, apparel and facilities service center in Evansville, in addition to a separate first aid and safety facility there, he said.
Among the prospective buyers, “We think their customer is the most similar to ours,” Sights said.
“It’s a big company that’s well-respected,” he said of Cintas. “It’s nationally known as a great service provider and a great employer. We saw this as the best fit for our employees, customers and community.”
“Strategically this (plant in Henderson) will be a big deal for them because this (has been) our headquarters and has a lot of offices” that Cintas could keep filled with administrative staff, Jon L. Sights said.
While Sitex has been Cintas-owned since the closing of the sale, Wes and Jon Sights have been helping co-manage the company during a transition period and agreed to remain on board until March.
“That will give time to migrate our employees to their HR system” as well as to migrate customer information into Cintas’ system, which is expected to be complete by June 1, Wes Sights said.
Wes Sights, 53, had been with Sitex for 31 years. Jon L. Sights, who will turn 55 in April, had been with the company for 22 years. They were the third generation of the Sights family to run the company; the two followed their father, Jon H. Sights, now retired, into the business.
Wes Sights said they have been too busy the past six months to contemplate what’s next in life for them. “Basically, we’ll be retired,” he said.
“It’s still surreal to us a little bit,” Sights added.
The company was founded by their grandparents James and Gladys Sights on Jan. 1, 1961, as Industrial Uniform Services Inc.
It “set out with no business, a shallow line of credit, some very used laundry equipment and one delivery truck to establish a customer base in uniform rental service within a 25-mile radius of its plant,” according to a company timeline at sitex-corp.com. “With a small but aggressive sales force and a commitment to providing its customers with exceptional service, we grew to five routes and expanded our territory to a 75-mile radius within five years.”
A series of acquisitions over the following decades helped it expand its business offerings and market territory. In 1995, the company changed its name to Sitex Corp. (short for Sights Textiles), and in 2004, the company moved out of an aging and inefficient plant here to a state-of-the-art facility at 1300 Commonwealth Dr.
In addition to uniform and linen services, Sitex has provided mats, mops, custom apparel, promotional items, screen printing, embroidery, and restroom and hygiene services in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Illinois
The Sitex service footprint has spanned an approximately 200-mile radius of Henderson. It has had branch locations in Louisville, Nashville, Paducah and Jasper, Ind.
Based in Cincinnati, Cintas reported revenues of $8.8 billion during its most recent fiscal year, which ended last May 31, up 12% from the previous year. It reported net income of more than $1.3 billion.
Cintas announced last week that it has been named one of Fortune’s 2024 World’s Most Admired Companies, ranking second amongst all companies in the Diversified Outsourcing Services category. It said this is the 16th time that Cintas has been recognized by Fortune for the honor.
Cintas was ranked in 2022 by P3 Costs Analysts as the second-largest uniform company (by revenue) in the country behind Aramark, although a very large portion of the latter company’s business is food service.