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50 years strong: female-led family business hits big milestone

50 years milestone

From Richard Jay’s home base on Success Street in Acacia Ridge, sisters Carolyn Kirk (Managing Director), Libby Baldwin (Marketing Director) and Kathie Smith run a multi-million-dollar corporation – one that celebrates 50 years in business this month!

In 1969, when founder Richard Jay launched a single laundromat in Adelaide, he had no way of knowing that the business would still be going strong five decades on – with his three daughters working hard behind the scenes.
Since those early days in SA, Richard Jay has evolved into an internationally recognised Queensland company providing B2B laundry, warewashing and chemical dispensing solutions for hospitality, healthcare, government and community operations.
The sisters, who at times have juggled motherhood with busy careers at Richard Jay, attribute the company’s success to maintaining a ‘future focus’ (“even when that was not the in thing”).
Over the decades, the sisters have never lost sight of Richard Jay’s core company belief: that all Australians deserve fresh sheets on beds and clean clothes to wear.
This fundamental idea led to a natural partnership between Richard Jay award-winning Brisbane charity, Orange Sky, which provides clean clothes and conversation for Australians experiencing homelessness.
Richard Jay jumped at the chance to donate heavy duty washing machines and dryers for Orange Sky’s world-first ‘laundry in a van’ concept.
As Carolyn, Libby and Kathie look back on the decades, they say it’s the people who have made the journey memorable. The people in their business and the people they do business with.
To celebrate 50 years in business, Richard Jay hosted a gala 50th anniversary party with all the team, clients and suppliers in attendance.