Katzson Bros.: Complete Coverage
A tailor’s son, Sidney Katzson (now 99) began selling supplies from his car in 1935 and was soon joined by his brother Seymour (now 93). Early on, “The two of them were the entire sales force,” said current company president (and Seymour Katzson’s son-in-law) Richard Right, who joined the company in 1986. “Covering Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming made for a long trip.”
Taking advantage of Seymour’s knowledge of chemistry and mechanical engineering, the brothers eventually expanded into hotel, laundry and drycleaning supplies and equipment, moving from a small downtown Denver location to a larger space, and then into its current headquarters in the early 1960s. And after 78 years in business, Katzson Brothers still dedicates itself to delivering quality drycleaning equipment and supplies at competitive prices, and puts the customer first by offering prompt delivery of more than 36,000 products from its warehouses in Denver, Albuquerque and Salt Lake City.
“Equipment has always been an integral part of our business,” Right said. “We saw equipment just plummet because of the wash-and-wear fad; the drop in volume eliminated a lot of drycleaners. That was the first big challenge the industry had to deal with. In the recent past, thinking ‘green’ has become very important. That changed the way in which cleaners identify themselves, and the way they are treated by governments, landlords and their own customers.”
Challenges like these create a need for distributors. “Distributors supply the products that allow laundries and drycleaners to deliver products and services that are both environmentally friendly and economical,” he said. “Again, there was a big fallout because some people wouldn’t or couldn’t adopt those technologies. Controlling costs is the primary directive; if you can’t make money, you’re not going to be around. There are supplies that allow you to do that, and there is equipment that allows you to do that. You have to adapt and change, or die.”
Today, Katzson sells “almost every solvent that exists,” he added, with everything else a plant could need to operate and promote itself. “We are partnered with what I consider to be the very best, most qualified and industry-loyal manufacturers of supplies and equipment. We allow customers tell us what they’re looking for, and then we recommend to them what fits. We’ve always been good at listening to what the customer said before we put in our two cents.”
Delivering to eight states, Katzson’s sales staff also learns from customers and shares that knowledge. “We’re not done growing,” Right said. “We want to continue to help our customers deal with whatever comes down the road. Together, we will get to 100 years and beyond.”