The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently announced a list of honorees for its 2018 Annual Business Awards program. Among those to be recognized at a June 14 dinner program in downtown San Antonio is Division Laundry and Cleaners, a healthcare launderer that will receive a Family Business Excellence Award from the organization.
In an e-mail to Textile Services Weekly, Division President Patrick R. Garcia noted that his grandparents, Florencio and Celsa Garcia, fled Mexico during the revolution there (1910-’20) and headed to San Antonio, TX, with their youngest child, Peter G. Garcia, who founded Division in 1939.
“If it had not been for the Mexican Revolution, Division Laundry & Cleaners Inc. would not exist,” said Patrick, who succeeded his father several years ago. Patrick met his future wife Mary Helen through his membership in the League of United Latin American Citizens. They had three children, Patricia, Patrick A. and Theresa, all of whom are now working full-time for Division. “Patricia, Patrick Anthony and Theresa have earned their spot in the business,” Patrick R. said, adding that, “Patricia’s husband Adam Luna has been the director of purchasing and has helped build our tool and parts department, making it the envy of the industry by those that have toured our plant.”
Speaking of the Chamber of Commerce award, Patrick R. said he initially was taken aback when he got word of the honor. “It took me a while to settle in that we were considered as a nominee for this distinguished award,” he said. “I forwarded the e-mail with the announcement to my three children who work by my side. I went office by office to only find my daughter Patty, and I asked her to please read it and tell me if I read the e-mail correctly. She pleasantly smiled and said, ‘Yes Dad.’ Shortly after that we all got together and hugged, just like we do every day at the end of the day when we say our good-byes, and we say we’ll see you tomorrow. It’s the moment that we look at each other and realize that we’ve met today’s challenges and that tomorrow will bring new challenges.
“Our family is humbled that we are to be recognized. I so wish my parents, Peter and Cecilia, could be with us to witness what was their dream in building their business from scratch and having clawed its way back from a fire that devastated the plant in 2001. My father, the 17th child who lived out his dream from shining shoes and selling newspapers at 8 years of age on the streets of downtown San Antonio, an immigrant from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with only 2 1/2 years of formal education in San Antonio. With the trauma of the fire long past … it’s exciting to have the children in here. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. Our industry and our clients that we serve now see continuity in our 79-year-old family business.”
Patrick R. said he can’t predict if a fourth generation will enter the business. However, his 3-year-old granddaughter Emma Ann already has visited Division Laundry, “watching over her mother Patty at her desk.”
The Chamber of Commerce dinner program will honor a number of outstanding businesses and community leaders who’ve played a role in improving the local business climate in the city of San Antonio. Other winners include: