We recently announced that WM Uniform has partnered with Wildman to
continue the legacy of WM Uniform.
We chose Wildman as our partner in this because we know they will take
care of our team and our customers in the same way we have. We feel
confident that the Wildman team will help us continue the legacy together.
We are stronger together.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why sell the company? Why now?
At the start of 2022, we began working on succession planning with Mitch and Steve entering the later part of their careers. At the same time, we were considering the strategic challenges of supply chain, pricing, etc. that have made it more difficult to compete as a single location independent laundry. When Josh Wildman reached out in the fall about the possibility of buying WM Uniform, the timing made sense for a discussion.
After many meetings and conversations, it felt like everything was fully aligned and this was the best step for the longevity of the company. We could have considered other options in selling the business, but we know Wildman will be a partner who will care for our team members and customers the same way we have for the past 60 years.
In fact, the Van Tuinen and the Wildman families have known each other for nearly a decade. Patrick and Erin have even gone on a mission trip before with Josh Wildman. Both families are well known and respected in the industry and have shared a common belief system that impacts how we treat team members and customers.
In addition, WM Uniform has been a customer of Wildman’s Winona Services division which provides our towels, tissues, and can liners.
We feel confident that the Wildman team will help us continue the legacy together. The additional resources and synergies between the companies will provide better opportunities to our customers, team members, and communities.
2. Who is Wildman?
Wildman Business Group (WBG) is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated laundry based in Warsaw, Indiana, established in 1952. Their portfolio of companies includes Uniform & Linen, Facility Services, Winona Services, and YouTheFan with locations in Warsaw (headquarters), Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Griffith, and now Holland, Michigan.
Wildman is a growing business focused on building meaningful relationships, being authentic, serving others, and excellence.
Wildman has approximately 440 team members (including the nearly 100 from the WM Uniform team). Wildman refers to their employees as “team members” because their vision involves more than just a job and a paycheck. It’s a team with members committed to the company, their teammates, their roles, and their customers.
Wildman’s culture is like a family. Their team members care for each other while working hard together driving toward a common goal of becoming better and stronger together. Many of their team members are well-tenured and have deep relationships even outside of work.
Wildman believes in the power of every individual. Their purpose as a company is to wildly change lives by empowering people to realize their full potential and purpose. Wildman offers opportunities to develop and excel within the company, if desired. We’re excited about the continued opportunities for our team members as part of this larger team.
Similar to our team, the Wildman’s team members have pride and ownership in their work and accomplishments and are always looking for ways to improve.
3. Why does Wildman want to purchase WM?
Wildman seeks to partner with other independent laundries looking for a transition, providing an alternative succession plan to large nationals, with the purpose of continuing the families’ legacies.
The combined resources of both companies provides the opportunity to further accelerate our growth – not just revenues but investment in our people. Wildman’s goal is to be the preferred Midwest supplier and an employer of choice – positively changing lives through business. This relationship allows for an enhanced customer experience as Wildman offers several product segments that we have not been able to offer, such as first aid, safety products, restroom hygiene cleaning services through CleanTeam, and many more.
4. Are we making a public announcement about this?
As of tomorrow (5/16/2023), the news will be public. This will be shared in communication from both companies, on social media, in local news, and to industry publications.
5. How can I talk about this with my family?
We understand that this news impacts more than just you – our team members – and extends to your families as well. In the next section, you’ll learn more about what this transition means for you, your wages and benefits, and your role. (Hint: No immediate changes, and we anticipate only favorable things to come.) You’ll likely have additional questions once you’ve discussed this with your family, and the WM Uniform and Wildman team will be here to answer any questions you have. If you have any questions as we join with Wildman, please reach out to Patrick Van Tuinen, Kim Miller, Nate Younglove, or Erin Wisser.
6. How can I talk about this with customers?
The Wildman and WM Uniform leadership teams will continue to work closely to communicate this news to customers. A Wildman team member will accompany each of our CSRs on their routes for the remainder of the week to ensure customers understand the news and what this means for them going forward. Like WM Uniform, Wildman is committed to service excellence and customer loyalty through meaningful relationships. The service our customers receive will not be compromised.
When customers ask you about this decision, you can tell them we joined Wildman in May 2023, as Steve and Mitch moved forward with plans to retire from the business. We’re keeping the WM Uniform name, and are excited about our shared values and the opportunities this provides for us and our customers, including more locations and more service offerings.
What does this mean for me?
7. Do I still have a job?
Yes! Our goal is to grow and be stronger together.
Combining with Wildman, and not a national company in our industry, enables us to remain an independent provider and continue operations in west Michigan.
8. Will my job move to Wildman’s headquarters in Indiana?
No, your job will not be moving locations. You’re still a valuable team member at the Holland location and the plant will continue in full operation.
9. Who do I say I work for – Wildman or WM Uniform?
You still work for WM Uniform, a division of Wildman. WM Uniform is now a part of the Wildman family of businesses.
10. Will my job roles and responsibilities change? What about my title?
There won’t be any immediate changes to team members’ roles or titles. During the next several months, both companies will work together to streamline and improve processes to make our jobs easier and better serve our team members and customers.
11. Will my pay change?
No. There will be no immediate changes to compensation related to this business change. Our goal is to continue to provide competitive compensation and total rewards that support growth and opportunity.
12. Will my hours change?
There are no anticipated immediate changes to working hours.
13. Who will I report to? What does organizational structure look like?
Mitch and Steve will assist with the transition before stepping into the next stage of life with retirement.
For individuals reporting directly to Steve, we’re excited to introduce you to Nick Porter. Nick has spent his entire career in the uniform and linen industry. He joined Wildman in March 2022 when Wildman acquired his family business, Porters Uniform. Nick oversees Wildman’s Griffith branch as General Manager. This location has flourished since Wildman acquired it, and we expect the same success for the WM Uniform location. Nick is thrilled to support the team as we become stronger together.
Patrick will remain on the team and serve as Regional Vice President. He will be a part of the Wildman Executive Team with a primary focus on WMU and the Michigan market.
Kim will be transitioning into a new role as Director of Integration. She’ll continue overseeing the Apparel division and work with the WM Uniform team to ensure a smooth transition and make sure all team members are supported.
Nate Younglove and Erin Wisser will remain on the team in their same roles as Director of Sales and Service and Director of Human Resources, respectively.
TJ will remain on the team and plans to develop over time as a 4th generation leader.
14. Will my benefits change?
There are no immediate planned changes to benefits. We will continue to keep you informed as any new benefits arise and leading up to the open enrollment period which is planned for the fall of this year.
Each year at open enrollment, benefits are reviewed for market changes and potential opportunities to improve or enhance, whenever possible.
By joining Wildman, you’ll have access to several new benefits including a network of support and assistance through LoveWorks, personal and professional development through Dream Management, gym reimbursement, and many more. More information on these programs will be coming at a later date.
15. Will my PTO vacation time change?
No change in PTO at this time. However, Wildman has a World Outreach Program that offers 5 additional PTO days for volunteer work which will be rolled out with open enrollment.
16. Will my tenure with WM Uniform be honored?
Yes, your current tenure will be honored by Wildman. We consider your tenure to be your legacy start date. For example, if you began your career with WM Uniform on June 1, 2018, your tenure would be based on that legacy start date.
17. Will my 401(k) vesting change?
There are no immediate planned changes to 401(k) retirement benefits. We will continue to keep you informed as any new benefits arise.
18. Will our policies change?
We anticipate no immediate changes to the policies and will keep you informed.
19. Will this impact an upcoming promotion or retirement that I have in the works?
Upcoming promotions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with the Wildman and WM Uniform teams.
We anticipate no immediate impact regarding retirements.
What about the Family Leadership?
20. Will the Van Tuinens still be a part of the company and come back to visit for events?
Patrick will remain Regional Vice President and will continue to lead the WM Uniform team.
TJ will remain on the team and plans to develop over time as a 4th generation leader.
We’ll celebrate the retirement of Mitch and Steve in the near future.
- Mitch will be with the company for approximately the next 2 months supporting the transition as he prepares for his retirement.
- Steve will be with the company for approximately the next few weeks supporting the transition as he prepares for his retirement.
All family members will be welcomed back for events and visits from time to time. They will continue to celebrate with us our team members and milestones and honor the family’s legacy.
See question 13 above regarding organizational structure.
Does this change our strategy?
21. Will our customers have to sign a contract?
The goal is to grow this business, not contract the business. Our plan is to maintain the business principles that have served us well in the past.
22. Will we lose the WM Uniform name?
No. There are no immediate plans to change company names. We will continue to operate as WM Uniform, a division of Wildman. There is a strong brand reputation in our area and the Wildman team sees the value in continuing with the same WM Uniform name our customers and team members know and love.
23. Will we keep both divisions? (Rental and Apparel)
Yes. The plan is to keep both divisions and quickly grow the apparel and promotional business throughout Wildman Business Group. This will be an enhanced offering for Wildman’s customer base.
24. What are Wildman’s mission, vision, and values? Will our core values change?
Wildman’s mission, vision, and values include:
- Purpose: To Wildly Change Lives by empowering people to realize their full potential and purpose.
- Mission: Clean, Safe, and Looking Great
- Vision: Change the Perception of the Industrial Laundry Industry
- Relationships | Build meaningful connections
- Authentic | Honesty and integrity in action
- Serve | Put others first
- Excellence | Never settle for good enough
Our core values – honesty, integrity, excellence, and relationships – will not change. Both companies are focused on providing excellent service through honest, authentic relationships and operating with integrity to serve the communities.
25. Are we still planning for growth in East Michigan?
Yes! Wildman’s goal is to be the Midwest supplier and employer of choice and that includes a lot of growth in the region.
Still have questions?
Stop by a Leadership Team members’ office or fill out the form to the right. We would be happy to help as we walk through this transition together!