Business Spotlight: Read’s Uniforms
First Bank client Read’s Uniforms is a regional retail and business-to-business company based in Asheville, NC, with retail stores throughout the region. Co-owners Eric and Shannon Hutzler are passionate about providing attentive customer service and a superb shopping experience for the medical, hospitality, education, public safety and industrial fields.
Eric Hutzler: My name is Eric Hutzler and I’m a co-owner of Read’s Uniforms with my wife Shannon.
Eric Hutzler: Read’s Uniforms was started in 1971. A gentleman had grown it to 5 stores and my mother bought one of the stores in 1991. The one that my mother purchased…it was the only surviving Read’s location. And so my wife and I had the dream of growing the company back and hopefully even exceeding it’s original size. And so currently, we have 8 locations, including our mobile division, from North Carolina to Florida.
Eric Hutzler: We service 5 verticals: medical, which is where Read’s has its roots and it’s history…where we started. And we now do education, hospitality, public safety, and also industrial.
Eric Hutzler: So Read’s Uniforms is a distributor, we’re not a manufacturer, and what that means is that we really every day on our suppliers. We want to have both operationally excellent suppliers but also we need brand names like 5.11 in the public safety sector or Cherokee in the medical sector. And we’d like to think that we have access to all of the major brands in those categories.
Eric Hutzler: Our employees at Read’s Uniforms…we like to say that they have to be smart and critical thinkers and hard-working and energetic. You also have to keep up with all of the different departments and what their contracts are and the items that they get. That’s literally hundreds or thousands of skus. And so, our staff has to be extremely knowledgeable and confident to service that community.
Eric Hutzler: Asheville is not a huge town so we have to take care of a 5 or 10 man department just like we would a hospital that’s converting to color coding for a thousand employees, let’s say. It’s very important that we deliver that service consistently regardless of the size.
Eric Hutzler: When it comes to uniforms, everybody sees a uniform as a very personal thing. And so, whenever you can provide a client that meets their budget goals, their comfort goals, their fashion goals – whatever they may be – it makes them feel better about themselves.
Eric Hutzler: Our goal is to just continue to build a strong family business that could be an opportunity for other generations down the road to be involved with.