By Ruben Avxhiu
The word “linen” rarely makes it in restaurant reviews, but those involved in this tough and capricious business know well the importance of it.
Restaurants are about food, service, and décor, but if there’s one thing that has to do with the three of them is precisely linen. The greater the quality and fame of a restaurant the more significance is placed on this detail.
Fourteen years ago, an Albanian-American, with knowledge of the restaurant business, Vasel Nikprelaj noticed the desperate demand for linen all over the City and beyond and founded the Tri-State Linen company.
Located in Congers, New York, they run it as a family business, with his wife, Elizabeth, his brother, their children. Everyone helps. They have also a great staff which they appreciate and respect.
For more than a decade, Tri-State Linen supplied the New York restaurant scene with everything they needed. More than 550 restaurants most of them in Manhattan, but also everywhere in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut rented fine products from them.
From its conception, the company has been a one-stop for “all your linen rental needs”, whether it was for restaurants, special events, hotels, weddings; whether they needed, chair covers, tablecloths, napkins, staff uniforms, chefs’ coats, bar mops, kitchen towels etc you didn’t need to look farther.
New York City has always had a buzzing restaurant and catering industry and Tri-State Linen has been for more than a decade, one of the forces that kept it moving.
For the last two years, however, the business has grown in a different direction. It is focusing on hotels and the success has followed them again. Thanks to their quality and reliability, its services are in great demand in the hospitality business of the entire tri-state area.
Few places around the globe receive more visitors and travelers, whether it is business people, tourists, scholars or officials. Once again, the business instinct of Vaso and his family led them to this new challenge.
“We don’t use salespersons”, Vaso told me over the phone, during an interview for this article. “We let quality, hard work, and, responsibility do the talking for us. We are here seven days a week. And the clients keep coming.”
A great advantage for choosing Tri State Linen is that they are environmentally conscious, using only cutting-edge technology to treat linen they service. With only carefully chosen certified equipment and products they do an excellent job while keeping their promise to “leave the smallest possible ecological and environmental footprint on our planet.”
It’s another success story of a family of immigrants, who arrived in the United States around two decades and a half ago, with almost nothing in their pockets, but with a great desire in their heart to change their lives. And they did. Their hard work and success made our City and our community better too. Elizabeth comes from Albania while Vaso and his brother come from Malësia e Madhe, a famous, mountainous, Albanian-speaking region that spreads on both sides of the Albanian-Montenegrin border.
They remain closely linked to the dynamic local Albanian-American community and have helped many other co-nationals and immigrants through their business. Many Albanian-Americans own or manage restaurants and they have been crucial in helping many start-ups or struggling businesses to get on their feet.
For their contribution to their community they received an official recognition from City Councilman Mark Gjonaj, the first Albanian-American elected to New York City Council.
Vaso, Elizabeth, and their family work hard, but they depend on a growing staff who shares the same work ethics. Last Saturday, they hosted their annual Christmas party for all their employees as an expression of gratitude for their role and to celebrate the growing success of Tri-State Linen.
“We are proud and humbled of what we have achieved,” Vaso said, “and are determined to keep giving our best.”