Towels…and Reasons Your Facility Needs Them!

On a daily basis, university recreation facilities across the country are some of the most visited buildings on campus. Today’s campus recreation facilities are bigger and better, offer more options than ever and one of the most asked places to visit on a freshmen visit. Operationally, staffs have to look at their budgets yearly and decide “what’s in & what’s out.” Towels service is something that sometimes ends up on the chopping block. These are just three of the reasons all campus recreation facilities should have towels.

Towel service actually might not be costing you as much as you think!

If one only looks at the total budget figure without looking at the number of visits received it’s a one-dimensional view. To really dive into your budget figures, you must look at yearly visits. This works well with many budget items. For example you are a large university with 45,000 students. You receive an average of 5,000 visits/day or 1,825,000 visits per year. Knowing that you spent $10,000 on your towels (without laundering expenses) the actual towel cost equals $10,000/1,825,000 visits = .0054 cents or less than 1 Penny per visit. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Loss ratios on towels can be done in the same fashion. Dividing lost towels by visits will often be surprisingly good.

Hygiene in today’s bacteria filled world is Critical!

Most facilities have full and part-time staff attempting to clean, clean, clean. Towels do an excellent job of keeping excess bacteria from ever making contact with your facility surfaces. A runner for 30 minutes on a treadmill with a towel, and without, a wet exercise towel or wet equipment– you be the judge. Use a $2.00 towel to keep a $7,000 machine dry, cleaner and less prone to rust and breakdown, now that is a good investment. Using towels in conjunction with disposable wipers and/or cleaning disinfectants keep bio-loads down in recreational facilities.

Customer Service and the Cost of Doing Business

Every staff wants to support their students and patrons with the best equipment, facilities and user experience. Towels have good reason to be part of that experience. Several years ago, a large campus recreation department decided briefly to cut towels from the budget. Then came student uproar. So huge, it ended up on the ballot for a campus vote. Overwhelmingly, the students voted “Towels Stay!” Towels are purely a cost of doing business. It offers patrons the convenience to take a shower, wipe off, and keeps expensive equipment clean.

So “Do we cut towels?” The rhetorical question is…..Do you go to dinner without a napkin?


Wayne Kotulic Jr. is the Vice President Texon Athletic Towel and Supply. He can be reached at 800-328-3966 or visit for more information.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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