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There’s a first time for everything

Alliance Laundry Systems introduces a matte black product option for its Speed Queen brand

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October 3, 2023

RIPON – For more than 100 years, Randy Radtke, content and media relations manager at Alliance Laundry Systems LLC, said the Ripon-headquartered company has been a leader in commercial laundry equipment.

“We always say laundry is what we do, and we do it better than anybody else,” Radtke said. “We like to think we make the best laundry equipment on the planet. We feel like we have the best laundry equipment builders in the world.”

Focused on laundry equipment since the beginning, Radtke said Alliance has never been and will never try to “be all things to all people.”

“Other brands are focused on a wide range of products,” he said. “We feel like our laser focus on building the best laundry equipment keeps us ahead of the competition.”

To be an industry leader, Radtke said you must find a reason to do what you do.

“We know this industry, we know these products – we know the pain points, we know an immense volume of information because of that quality focus,” he said.

That same passion, Radtke said, extends to Alliance’s appreciation for the Ripon community.

“There’s a rich history here in Ripon we’re committed to,” Radtke said. 

Radtke said Alliance is about five years removed from a significant facility expansion, which added a “pretty sizable” global distribution center, as well as additional office and manufacturing space.

“We’ve grown in square footage a ton over the years,” he said.

That growth, Radtke said, has also included employees.

“We’re constantly in competition for employees,” he said. “When that became even tighter, we looked over to a new market and purchased a facility in Manitowoc and tapped into another labor pool over there. It’s been a great move for us, and we continue to grow and expand.”

Alliance Laundry Systems has been located in the City of Ripon since its inception. Submitted Photo

Locally, Alliance has 1,938 employees – 1,647 in Ripon and 291 in Manitowoc.

“(Our employees) are as committed to this product as anybody – it’s easy to get behind it when you have a passion for what you do,” Radtke said. 

Color evolution
Another recent growth area at Alliance involves them stepping outside its typical product offerings.

After decades of only offering a single color option – white – Alliance’s brand Squeed Queen is now introducing matte black models.

“We’ve consistently been asked to offer colors in addition to our white models, so we’ve answered the call from customers,” Cody Masluk, vice president of Speed Queen consumer distribution, said.

The matte black option, Masluk said, is being offered on select models, including the TR7/DR7 top load washer and dryer, with Pet Plus™ cycles, as well as on the FF7/DF7 pair.

He said the Speed Queen’s SF7 stack washer/dryer will get the matte black option starting in December.

Masluk said Alliance previewed matte black models at a recent trade show, and “the response was nothing short of exceptional.”

Radtke said white has also been Alliance’s predominant color – minus “back in the day if you can remember the avocado and olive days, we were in that realm along with everybody” – but sticking with white has been a constant.

However, that doesn’t mean adding color options hasn’t been discussed, Radtke said.

“The consideration was we wanted something that would not take away from the commercial quality product – that’s who we are at the end of the day, and that’s the major differentiator for us,” he said. “So, for us to get into a wide range of color options, that isn’t really who we are.”

Randy Radtke said the team at Alliance is committed to providing the highest quality laundry equipment in the industry. Submitted Photo

However, the matte black option, Radtke said “dovetails nicely with our commercial quality story.”

“We’re excited to see what it does within the market,” he said.

As far as feedback, Radtke said Alliance has received “a ton of positive feedback” from dealers – which will ultimately be those who are selling the machines.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm on that side,” he said. “Again, it’s something people have been asking for for a long time – so, I think we’re finally appeasing that appetite.”

Product evolution
Since its beginning in 1908, Radtke said Alliance has come somewhat full circle.

While the company started with a focus on residential machines – “if you remember those old wringer washers” – Radtke said it eventually shifted that focus to the commercial side of the industry. 

“That commercial component became a much higher percentage of the products we produce – so for laundromats, pharmacies, hotels, long-term care facilities and hospitals,” he said.

Radtke said there came a time when Alliance recognized that the machines they were producing for its commercial clients, could also work for residential clients.

“It made sense,” he said. “We recognized we can produce those top-load washers that are going to laundromats and elsewhere and make that a residential product – in hopes people would appreciate that level of quality.”

Radtke said Speed Queen commercial laundry equipment is engineered and tested to do 25 years worth of laundry in the average household.

“We shine as a world leader in commercial laundry equipment, and the good thing about that is our residential product is a reflection of that commitment to commercial quality,” he said. “When you buy a top-load washer or a front-load washer and dryer for your homes, you’re getting that same level of quality.”

Randy Radtke said Alliance’s employees are as committed to the company’s product as anybody. Submitted Photo

Despite its size within the marketplace – “Speed Queen is a pretty small player within the residential market” – Radtke said other companies are watching what they do.

Alliance Laundry Systems, Radtke said, was the first to the market with Pet Plus™ cycles.

“When we got into that realm – we recognized there was a space we could occupy and help people with a problem that was plaguing them again,” he said. “If you have a pet you know the struggle is real. So, we created a pet hair removal cycle on the dryer.”

In collaboration with the launch of the Pet Plus cycle option, Radtke said Alliance partnered with Best Friends Animal Society – an animal welfare organization based in Kanab, Utah.

“They have facilities across the country – and we partnered with them because we thought we could do good things together,” he said. “It is an organization that has the same values as us that really was committed to helping rescue pets get them in homes. They’re committed to no-kill in the United States by 2025 – so we love that goal.”

The partnership with Best Friends Animal Shelter, Radtke said, is an extension of who Alliance is as a company.

“It’s a unifying force between producing a great product that can help in these areas – we donated washers and dryers to the facility – but we’re committed to getting our hands dirty, too,” he said. “Since the start of the partnership, we’ve made volunteer trips to Utah and volunteered at the sanctuary.”

Good Housekeeping award
Reiterating that Alliance believes it makes the best laundry equipment on the planet, Radtke said a recent recognition by “Good Housekeeping” as a 2023 Best Cleaning & Organizing award recipient “means a lot.”

He said Alliance’s Speed Queen DR7 dryer – which was recognized as a winner – is a game changer, complete with steam refresh and steam boost cycles, anti-static and steam sanitize options.

Radtke said it is also ENERGY STAR® certified and offers Over-Dry Prevention technology, as well as a reversible door, which offers installation flexibility.

Since its inception, Randy Radtke said Alliance Laundry System has been committed to manufacturing the most reliable, feature-driven product possible. Submitted Photo

Masluk said the recognition by “Good Housekeeping” is further evidence of what Alliance is doing and the value it has to the consumer.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to see our legendary brand return to the pages of this iconic publication,” he said. “Our DR7 and entire product range is built with the same American pride and commercial quality that has been the hallmark of the Speed Queen brand for more than 115 years.”

Radtke said through the award selection process, “Good Housekeeping” puts products through the wringer.

“They really test the products,” he said. “So, the fact we were included in those awards is significant to us. Obviously, everybody knows the ‘Good Housekeeping’ brand, so a mention like that is a vote of confidence, and we’re super excited about that.”

At the end of the day, Radtke said it’s about providing consumers with the most reliable, feature-driven product possible.

“I think from the top to bottom, we’ve created a company that has a passion for what we do,” he said.

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