Sara Hawkins and her children have lived in North Appleton for the past ten years. Previous to that, they lived in Minneapolis, but moved home to be part of the family business. A family business and family last namewell known to the Fox Valley area—Gunderson Family Companies. Sara attended St. Olaf College in Northland, Minnesota and graduated with degrees in Economics and Asian Studies. While there, she learned to love and embrace her Norwegian heritage while studying. “Years ago, my grandma taught me how to make lefse,” Sara said. “I love to make it at Christmas time—it’s a family favorite and tradition.” Her three children attend Xavier Catholic Schools: Sam is in 7th grade, Ella is in 5th grade, and Jack is in 4th grade. All three kids enjoy basketball and play in the Xavier Youth Basketball Association basketball program. Ella loves volleyball and is playing for HEAT volleyball club this season as well. As a family, they love watching sports (Packers and Badgers of course), playing cards, family dinners, and taking walks. They all truly love the neighborhood in which they live.
Together with her brothers, Sara is a third generation employee of the Gunderson Family Companies. Their grandpa, Doug Gunderson, began Gunderson Cleaners in 1952 with one dry cleaning location. In 1989, their father Gary purchased the business from his father and has continued to expand the company. Today, Gunderson Family Companies has five brands/divisions: Gunderson Cleaners with eight Fox Valley locations and has been voted Best of the Valley for eleven years in a row; Tradition Cleaners has six central Wisconsin locations; Gunderson Uniform and Linen Rental/Health Care Linen Service; Accents Image Wear provides embroidery and promotional design work; FRSTeam by Gunderson is for fire restoration, fabric restoration and specializes in textile restoration for the insurance industry. “With over sixty years of experience, our family really takes pride in being experts in dry cleaning, laundry, fabric restoration and professional image,” Sara said. Together, the Gunderson Family Company employs 225 employees in the Fox Valley and throughout Central Wisconsin.
Doug Gunderson (Sara’s grandpa) passed away in 2014, but her grandma Mary (known as Gigi to the great-grandkids) is 95 years old and still full of life! Sara’s parents are Gary and Judy, but are affectionately known as Mimi and Bapa to the grandkids. Sara’s brother, Doug is married to Corrin and they have a daughter named Lily. Her other brother, Greg is married to Amy and they have two children—Graden and Norah. “One of my favorite phrases we use in the business is to ‘Be the reason someone smiles today!’” Sara said. “This is just a great reminder of how to live life, not just in your personal life, but also your business.” We all do truly have the ability every day to put on a smile and enjoy the day that’s been given to us. With this in mind, the Gunderson Family Companies strive to improve the quality of life in the communities in which we live, work, and play. Their mission is to actively reach out to those in need and give back to those who have given so much to them. They seek to engage at a deeper level, encourage volunteerism among their staff, and work to enthusiastically contribute to help build a better community. With such a long-standing history of family success, no doubt they are doing just that.
This summer, Midwest Communications along with 4 Corporate Sponsors will collect stuffed animals in Central Wisconsin to give to area Law Enforcement agencies to help comfort children in need. The collection effort began on Monday, July 25, 2016 and will continue through September 12, 2016. We have agreed to donate the cleaning of any used bears for this campaign!
Do you want to donate? Tradition Cleaners’ 6 locations are a drop station for the stuffed animals. Bring in 3 or more items for cleaning and a teddy bear donation, and we will also donate a bear to the Teddy Bear Posse!
Central WI will start hearing Tradition Cleaners ads/promos on each of the five stations that Midwest Communications owns. WDEZ (101.9FM), WIFC (95.5), ROCK (94.7), FOX SPORTS (AM1390/FM93.9) and WSAU (550AM/99.9FM)!
GREENVILLE – Outagamie County Regional Airport introduced a couple of new services to make traveling a little less stressful.
TailWaggers Doggy Daycare and Gunderson Cleaners are now providing services to the airport. Passengers can drop off their dry cleaning or dog when they arrive at the airport and pick them back up when they return at the airport.
The airport is excited to have both services available to customers.
Abe Weber, the airport director, says, “This is an idea that our airport staff kind of put together as well as talking with TailWaggers Doggy Daycare, certainly something that we pass through our business travelers and our customers and really felt the need was there.”
A highlight of the ceremony was the official opening of a new Pet Relief Area. It is a fenced-in area for dogs to have all to themselves when you are arriving or departing.
Gunderson Family Companies is making a difference. Their community effort tagline says it all:
“Helping You Build A Better Community…One Hour At A Time!”
After realizing the shear number volunteer opportunities and needs there are in Wisconsin, Gunderson Family Companies decided to leverage its assets to make the communities where it does business better places to live, work and play. From Coats for Kids to adopting a family at Christmas and cleaning Highway 55 in Menasha through Wisconsin’s Adopt-A-Highway program, Gunderson strives to give back.
To learn more about other community efforts and ways you can contribute, visit and find our community photo gallery.
What are common causes of major water damage in a home?
The main causes of water damage in a home could include: fire damage, severe weather/storms, blocked drainage lines, broken pipes, leaking roofs and broken appliances.
What are the first steps I should follow after severe water damage has occurred in my home?
Call for help with assessment and clean-up.
Turn off all electricity
Stop the water, if possible and move to higher ground.
Ventilate wet areas and have standing water professionally removed.
Have all damaged clothing and other items evaluated and restored to pre-loss condition.
To prevent injury, avoid all areas of the home with sagging ceilings caused by standing water. (link Water Damage page)
During a flood, does mold always develop?
No. Mold does not develop in all cases. The experts at FRSTeam by Gunderson Cleaners will work with you and your insurance company to determine if there is evidence of mold growth in your home.(link Mold Damage page)
How is sewage or flood damage different from basic water damage?
Although there is indeed a risk of pollution from basic water damage, sewage and flood water contain harmful contaminates, bacteria and other substances that may be very harmful. These contaminates are also easily transmitted. Children and pets are especially vulnerable to the pollutants caused by this type of damage.
Can all parts of my home/structure be restored after this type of damage has occurred?
It may not be possible to restore certain items such as carpeting, dry wall and other absorbent materials after they have been in contact with this type of damage. They may need to be replaced.
How can I be proactive and identify potential water damage, before a major problem occurs?
Homeowners should be aware and note any changes that occur in and around their home. The signs include: water spots on ceilings, water pipe problems, peeling paint, mold, moisture, leaking roofs, water gathering near home’s foundation, etc.
Did you know your customer’s experience is not just about your service, but on their perception of your service?
Do you remember the last time you asked a friend of yours to recommend a restaurant they would for dinner. They gave you the name of their favorite place and said the food and service were both outstanding. You decide to take their advice and visit this restaurant, with great expectations. But, your perception of their favorite restaurant turned out to be completely different from theirs. Your experience, therefore, was completely different from theirs. In reality, you will probably never go back, even though it was highly recommended by someone you trust.
Perception is EVERYTHING! Customers today already expect great service. How can you move from meeting expectations to creating amazing service?
Learning this concept is critical to creating an outstanding customer experience map.
FRSTeam by Gunderson Cleaners was called to an assisted living center in Kaukauna, WI on Monday, January 27 to take care of the textile restoration process after a fire started on the side of the building.
Heavy smoke, soot and water damage was evident throughout the building. FRSTeam’s services will restore the bedding and window treatments in the rooms. We will be processing and finishing the items this week, with an expected delivery date of Friday, January 31.
Each room was individually packed out to make sure all contents are inventoried, cleaned and returned to the room they were removed from. Window treatments will be re-hung by our experienced professionals, and the residents of the facility will be able to get back to their everyday lives sooner than expected.
Being able to provide quality service and quick turnarounds for our customers is what makes FRSTeam by Gunderson Cleaners the first call when a tragedy happens.
FRSTeam by Gunderson Cleaners…restoring more than just textiles. We restore memories and help to rebuild lives!
A new year means a new focus and a new look for Gunderson Family Companies and its 5 divisions. Seeking to reach out and be an information resource to new and current audiences, the family company saw the opportunity to break into the online world with a vengeance.
Spokesperson, Dan Ullsperger, Vice President of the Gunderson Family Companies, explains that it goes far beyond a website launch. It’s less about selling services and more about being a resource that consumers and businesses need. They need a valuable source of knowledge, expertise, solutions and understanding. The updated website gives consumers one-stop access to a wide-range of information.
“There are hundreds of years of combined knowledge and experience that veterans, throughout Gunderson, are so eager to share. This will give them the outlet to do that and to be there for their community,” says Ullsperger.
By joining the forces of all 5 of Gunderson’s divisions into one website, it becomes a very powerful information network. The website will be used to provide useful news and information on a variety of topics, from laundry and linen to marketing ideas and community events. It will also help raise awareness about how community members work together to build a better place to live and work.