The Story of the “Buffalo Street Cleaners”

Wildman Business Group was started in 1952 by Rex Wildman. After flying supplies over the hump in China during WWII, he came back home and began a career with Standard Oil.

It wasn’t long until the entrepreneurial itch and the desire to be his own boss got the best of him and he decided to live out what it really means to be an American entrepreneur.

After risking his life for our country, he risked everything back home when he decided to purchase a local dry cleaner. After scratching to pull the funds together and even having to take a loan from a local Amish man, what would become Wildman Business Group was born.

Not knowing anything about dry-cleaning in a community dominated by horse and buggy, God began His work through Rex’s hard work and leadership. In 1963, he moved the company to Warsaw, and at that time we became known as “Warsaw Cleaners and Shirt Laundry” aka the Buffalo Street Cleaners.

Fast forward to 1977 and Brent Wildman, Rex’s son, joined the family business after graduating from Seattle Pacific University.  Brent has always been driven to try new things; a serial entrepreneur with a knack for making the right decisions when faced with tremendous risk.

As a young, aggressive father of two and needing to put food on the table, he along with Rex created his entrepreneurial opportunity and ventured into the Industrial Uniform Industry — thus giving birth to Wildman Uniform and Linen. In 1992, he decided to expand our service offering when he launched a new direct sale division called Signet Expressions. Signet Expressions ultimately transformed into Wildman Corporate Apparel.

In 1998, facing incredible risk, Brent bet the company, his livelihood, and everything that had been built since 1952 as we acquired a competitor named G&K Services; doubling the size of our business overnight and bringing an incredible challenge as we worked to integrate the two companies and pay down the debt acquired with the acquisition.

Just how risky was the acquisition? After six tries at all of the local banks, Lake City Bank would say yes to the back of a napkin plan and once again God would open doors and provide—and provide He would continue to do as with this acquisition our company would meet Todd Deaton. Todd would play an instrumental role in the transition of both companies and the future of Wildman Business Group.

Speaking of God’s incredible plan for Wildman, in 1999 our world changed forever when Brent met a long-haired United States Marine and Vietnam Veteran from Kentucky named Steve Bryant.

Steve just so happened to have over 30 years of industry experience and a proven track record of success at a number of very large companies throughout America.  To this day we have no doubt that God brought Steve Bryant to this company and to this day we all thank God for bringing this crazy, old Marine to little ol’ Warsaw, Indiana.

Making one of the toughest and wisest decisions Brent would ever make, he turned over the reins completely to Steve to lead the company in 2000. Steve took over as CEO and was charged with building our business and training the next generation of leaders at Wildman Business Group. As Steve likes to say, “the only true measurement of ability is results”, and our results under Mr. Bryant’s leadership were truly incredible.

In 12 years we grew from $3.75 million in revenue to $38 million in revenue and from 70 employees to 200 employees.  Under Steve’s leadership, not only did our uniform and rental business explode, our company also diversified into Facility Services (formerly First Aid & Safety), Wildman Corporate Apparel (formerly Signet Expressions), Winona Paper, a division that sells paper products to other industrial laundries just like ourselves, and last but certainly not least, Mr. Bryant signed off on a new company called YouTheFan, a sports licensed consumer goods company.

In 2011 Steve began to turn the reigns over to Josh Wildman, Brent’s son, to be the next Chief Executive Officer at Wildman Business Group. As third generation CEO, Josh is committed to continuing Wildman Business Group’s aggressive growth record with 175% growth in the first several years under his leadership while also continuing the legacy of Godly servant guidance into the future.

The employees of Wildman Business Group are not only led to be the best they can be at the workplace, they are empowered to serve in our community and abroad. “I think it’s defined in our culture that people here are working for a purpose,” Josh said. “If you care for each other, you care better for our customers.”


Wildman Announces Promotions

As a local, 3rd generation, family owned and operated service provider with over 65 years of continuous growth through innovation and outstanding customer service, Wildman is deeply committed to adding value in the communities they serve and around the world. “At the end of the day, business is really about people and building relationships. I’m beyond proud of the team we have here, and excited to announce these recent promotions to better serve our employees and customers,” says CEO Josh Wildman.

Denny Harlan was promoted to Plant Manager where he oversees the daily operations of the Uniform & Linen production facility. Previously working in the Human Resources Department at Wildman as the company Recruiter, Denny brings a tremendous level of knowledge and experience to the team. Denny and his wife, Sheryl, reside in Warsaw and have 5 children.

Adam Lock was promoted to Branch Manager at the Indianapolis location for the Uniform & Linen Division. Adam focuses on building and maintaining positive relationships with customers, generating sales, and monitoring service quality at this new location to better serve customers. Wildman is looking forward to the growth opportunities in Indianapolis heading into 2019. Adam and his wife, Danielle, live in Fishers with their 2 children.

Josh French was promoted to District Manager and cross trains and supports the duties of the District Branch and Service Managers at the Warsaw location. Josh’s role involves the detailed, ongoing training of the Account Service Representatives. He is responsible for managing the growth, service needs, and customer satisfaction for over 300 customers and 6 routes. Josh and his wife, Andrea, reside in North Manchester with their 2 children.

Shane Music was also promoted to Route Manager at the Fort Wayne location where he oversees 6 routes. He is responsible for managing their growth, retention, goodwill visits, service needs, and customer relationships. Shane played a key role in the opening and success of the Fort Wayne location and will continue building those strong relationships in the future. Shane and his wife, Angela, live in Fort Wayne and have 2 children.


Wildman Acquires Portion Of Monarch Linen’s South Bend Customer Base

WARSAW, 10/03/2018 — Wildman has acquired a portion of the customers of Monarch Linen and Uniform Rentals to best serve the South Bend area.

After deciding to specialize in the healthcare, hospitality, and fine dining segments, Monarch was looking for a partner to take over their industrial and food and beverage accounts. It chose Wildman as that partner because of the shared values as a family owned and locally operated organization providing a high quality level of service to customers and a strong commitment to employees and the community. This partnership allows both parties to play to their strengths.

Wildman has already began providing service from the South Bend facility on Foundation Drive. The company currently operates out of Warsaw, with depot locations in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. The SouthBend facility will be the fourth location for Wildman.

For customers of Monarch Linen, business service will continue without disruption. The Wildman team looks forward to meeting Monarch Linen customers and learning how they can best serve new clientele.

No job displacements are foreseen. Wildman will be taking on several team members from Monarch’s current team in order to continue to best serve customers. For the customers, this means continued quality service from a familiar face. Both Monarch and Wildman employees have been working tirelessly to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“The expansion into the South Bend market is something our team has been wanting to do for years,” said Josh Wildman, CEO of Wildman. “When we met with the leaders of Monarch and learned about their customer base and market penetration, we knew it was the right fit. We’re thrilled for the opportunity to continue to serve these customers.”

Wildman Wins July 2018 Chamber Member of the Month

Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce: Congratulations to Wildman Business Group for being our July Chamber Member of the Month! Wildman Business Group is a Christian-based family business, and takes pride in providing quality and personalized service to customers. Having grown into a multi-divisional leader in their industry, Wildman Business Group is comprised of four divisions including Uniform & Linen, Facility Services, Corporate Apparel, and YouTheFan. Wildman Business Group is located at 800 S Buffalo St, Warsaw.

Wildman Wins Distributor of the Year Award

The DPA Distributor of the Year Award is presented to the distributor that has grown their sales over the previous year with DPA’s Partner Suppliers and that has added DPA vendors to their product line card. Wildman Facility Services met and exceeded both criteria and was the 15th recipient of this award.


Wildman Wins TRSA Company Community Service Award

TRSA recognizes that many companies in the industry make significant contributions to individuals and communities every day by volunteering their time, actions, talents, and dedication outside of the workplace. They’ve developed the annual Community Service Award to honor a company that has been generous with their time and talents and bring to light their sense of caring and responsibility for others in the community. Wildman recently won this prestigious award and were recognized at the Annual TRSA conference in Miami.

The mission of Wildman is to give back to its employees, customers, and community at home and abroad. Wildman has committed to giving back 20% of its profits to communities and world missions and empowering employees to participate in many community related functions. Projects they’ve supported includes being a court-appointed special advocate for CASA, serving meals at the local homeless shelters, helping rebuild communities after devastating tornadoes, delivering meals to shut ins, and providing food and supplies to the local women’s shelters.

Wildman has also funded more than 100 employees, employee’s families, customers and community members to visit one of several missions it supports. Employees have been to Honduras, Spain, Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic. The company pays all expenses for any employee and one family member to go on a mission trip. Not only are the employee expenses paid, but they are given paid time off from work to participate. One of the main organizations that Wildman is supporting is called 2nd Mile Missions. With the support of Wildman, this mission pioneered and operates an education center that serves pre-K through grade 12 in the Dominican Republic. Teachers are licensed through the Department of Education in the Dominican Republic and many are bilingual. This school serves as many as 800 students each year with hopes of ending the poverty and hopelessness that many of these youths would experience. 2nd Mile recently has opened a House of Hope that provides a loving home, and a sense of security to young girls who have been abused and/or abandoned.