CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sailstar USA Inc., which offered laundry washer-extractors, drycleaning machines and finishing equipment in the United States, has ceased business operations, American Laundry News, American Drycleaner's sister publication, confirmed today.
A letter written by Tony Franklin, Sailstar USA president, to a Sailstar distributor and obtained by American Laundry News indicates that the U.S. operation closed July 28. Sailstar USA was a division of the Shanghai Sailstar Machinery Group, based in Shanghai, China.
Phone and e-mail messages left for Franklin on Thursday were not returned, but a Sailstar spokesman reached by phone this morning confirmed the company’s closure.
In his letter, Franklin referred those seeking new Sailstar equipment, laundry parts and warranty information to Texchine Inc., a Chapin, S.C., distributor.
Bob Halpin, vice president of marketing for Texchine, says such a referral was premature. His company has not signed a marketing agreement with Shanghai Sailstar, but he acknowledged that such an agreement “is a possibility.”
“With Sailstar not in the marketplace, there are insurance and liability issues to be worked out,” says Halpin, who pointed out that TexchineParts.com, an entity separate from Texchine Inc., handles Sailstar parts and support. It will continue to support Sailstar equipment already in the marketplace, Halpin adds.
Franklin’s two-page letter described how the recession prompted Sailstar’s move. The business downturn and/or difficulty in obtaining affordable funding has led many cleaners and laundry operators to delay purchasing capital equipment, he wrote, and many drycleaning stores have closed.
“In response to the decrease in equipment sales, we took steps throughout 2009 to reduce the costs within our business; however, continuing depressed sales and the unlikelihood of any change to the current levels of business have forced us to make a difficult decision,” Franklin said in the letter.
He expressed disappointment in having to make the decision to close and thanked Sailstar customers for their years of support.