Stern Relates History Of Paris Companies

September 25, 2023 at 11:02 PM


David Stern

            Sixty-five members and guests attended the DuBois Area Historical Society’s 40th dinner held at Christ Lutheran Church, DuBois. David Stern, CEO of Paris Companies was the guest speaker and presented the over 100-year history of the company.

            Stern, a 1969 DuBois Central Catholic graduate, has spent 50 years with Paris Companies, expanding its reach and influence. “I did everything from counter work to truck driving,” said the current CEO.

            His Power-Point program started with August Paris, who founded Paris Cleaners in Brockway in 1918. Stern’s father, Jack, took over the business in 1950, and Stern joined the business upon his graduation from Duquesne University with a business degree in 1973.

            “Dry cleaning was dying at that time, because of permanent press clothing and the growth of home washing machines,” said Stern. “I started a uniform rental business in the basement of the Brockway store.”

            The idea was a success. By 1980 the business outgrew its basement origins and the operation was moved to a building in DuBois. Over the next three to four years it also outgrew that building. During the same time period hospitals changed how they could be reimbursed and Stern had the idea of creating a central laundry for hospitals. In 1990, the Clearfield Hospital was the first to contract with Paris resulting in daily tractor trailer loads of linen being cleaned by Paris.

            With the health care linen market expanding so did Paris, acquiring a plant in Williamsport that still operates, cleaning 60 million pounds a year of hospital laundry. Two additional facilities were added in Canton and Ravenna, Ohio.

            “By 2008, I decided to build a new facility in DuBois,” said Stern. “The City was very good to me and I wanted to build here.” The totally automated plant was designed to process 40 million pounds of linen, a total that was reached in two years. By 2011 an addition was added to the DuBois plant and the Ravenna, Ohio, plant was expanded in 2013.

            As a leader of the industry, Stern was elected president of Healthcare Association. In that position he started an accreditation process to bring credibility to the hospital linen industry.

            In 2019, Paris merged with an Atlanta healthcare company to handle plants all over the east coast. Plans are to encourage growth as far west as Chicago, Ill.

            “This was a story I wanted to tell,” concluded Stern. “Paris is probably one of the top brands in the industry and is recognized nationwide by national organizations.”

            During the business portion of the evening, the Society’s 2024 budget was approved along with the election of officers and board members for 2024-25 which included:  Kathleen Clement, president; Sara Zwick, 1st vice president; Brian Leech, assistant curator; Tom Rubritz, director of building and grounds; Carolyn Rhoades, director of youth; Paul Bojalad, representative City of DuBois; Galen Kilmer, representative Sandy Township; and Darla Brunnquell, representative Union Township.

            Dick Castonguay announced the Society’s new capital campaign with a goal of $38,500 for improvements to the E. D. Reitz Museum. The campaign has already raised $8,400 from its board and lifetime members. The drive will extend to the membership and then the community later in the year.

            Tom Schott was the master of ceremonies for the evening. Linda Lupro delivered the invocation. Catering by Paulette provided the buffet meal with dessert from Martin’s.

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