I know I’m not alone when I say that I am really, REALLY looking forward to the massed bands at this year’s Scottish Festival and Highland Games. It’s always such a meaningful and moving experience, but this year it will mean even more. COVID-19 has kept us apart for too long. We will come together again after 2 missing years. There’s a special kind of magic in the air during the massed bands. It seems to transcend time and distance. During the massed bands, particularly during Amazing Grace, I see grandparents and grandchildren hold hands, look silently into one another’s eyes, and make a connection that resonates beyond their generations. A moment of profound appreciation of family and time. The sound and spectacle of the massed bands stir powerful emotions. Chief among them, Love and Pride.

That’s why I am especially pleased to salute Roscoe (whose motto is Take Pride) for continuing to sponsor Chicago Scots Pipe Band Competition.

Roscoe Generations
Roscoe grew from family roots and Scottish roots. Founder George Buik Sr. (center) with his sons Don (from left), George Jr. and son-in-law John Roche.

This year’s contest is a real testament to the reputation of our Festival and our community.  Even after a two-year hiatus that included a lot of collateral damage to everyone associated with the Games, our pipe band competition will be one of the largest contests in North America. 33 pipe bands and an equally impressive roster of solo competitors are coming to Chicago to be featured at our Games.  This didn’t happen without dedication and innovation. Lots of people worked hard to make this happen. On behalf of the Chicago Scots I offer our thanks to them all. I’m particularly grateful to Jim Sim, president of the Midwest Pipe Band Association. Thank you Jim.

Hard work, dedication, innovation – these speak to the Roscoe’s core values and the Buik family’s commitment to Chicago Scots, which spans three generations of engagement and Board leadership.  George C. Buik, Scottish immigrant and the founder of Roscoe, a work uniform supplier and industrial laundry, organized the Robert Burns Society at the Illinois Saint Andrew Society in the 1920s.  He also chaired the last city-wide bagpipe tattoo for the Society in 1954 at the International Amphitheater, establishing the family’s leadership support of Chicago Scots bagpiping more than 60 years ago.

George’s son, Don Buik, served on the Board of Governors of Chicago Scots, including as chair, during the decades when two expansion projects at the Scottish Home – the McMillian Wing and the Georgeson Wing – met growing needs for additional nursing and senior care services.

Jim Buik with his father, Don. Jim took leadership of Roscoe in 1991.

Today, Don’s son, Jim Buik continues the family commitment to Chicago Scots and Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care.  Like George and Don before him, Jim cares deeply about the twin-engines of our Society’s mission – culture and care. In 2016, Jim and his wife, Teresa, were lead supporters of the Best Qualities of the Scots Campaign which opened our MacLean House, one of the first small houses in Illinois for people living with memory loss.

They are also lead supporters of the Reimagine Tradition Campaign, currently underway, to refresh the Scottish Home.  In true Buik fashion, Jim incentivized others to support the campaign too when he announced a surprise matching challenge to golfers at the 2021 Kilted Classic Golf Tournament.  As a result, last year’s tournament was our most successful ever.

100th Anniversary of Roscoe
Roscoe’s 100th anniversary was a great celebration for employees and customers. (From left), Emma & Dan Buik, Jim, Teresa, and Julia Buik.

In 2021, Roscoe celebrated their 100th anniversary.  A postponed celebration was held just a few months ago at the Drake Hotel, where the bagpiper led the procession of team members and customers into the dining room. Descendants of George C. Buik recited family favorite, Robert Burns’ The Selkirk Grace. The program included several speeches and videos honoring Roscoe’s past & present team, with keynote “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” by Roscoe’s longtime Congressman, Rep. Danny Davis.

Julia and Jim Buik
Julia and Jim Buik.  Four generations of Buik leadership have shaped Roscoe’s success.

Just like Chicago Scots, Roscoe’s longevity is rooted in strong Scottish values. We share a dedication to doing things right.  When I look at Roscoe’s logo, the lion; I hear 4 generations of the Buik family and Roscoe’s entire team encouraging us all to “Take Pride.”

On behalf of the Chicago Scots and everyone at Caledonia Senior Living, I thank Roscoe and the Buik family for their leadership and support.  I hope to see you in Aye-tasca for the Midwest Pipe Band Championship. Come join us.  We have a piece of history waiting for you.  And, listen close during the massed bands….. you just might hear the Roscoe lion roar with pride!

Gus Noble
President, Chicago Scots

Roscoe Milestones

  • 1921: John P. O’Connell and George C. Buik purchase Very Best Laundry, washing customer-owned uniforms
  • 1926: Company moved to current location on Harrison Street and starts washing customer rags, one of the earliest recycling initiatives
  • 1933: Roscoe supplied rental uniforms to the General Motors & Ford assembly plants and fair crew at the World’s Fair
  • 1955: Roscoe launches the 20-Year Club to honor employees with 20+years of service which currently has 200 honorary members
  • 1969: Donald Buik promoted to president
  • 1972: Roscoe is early to comply with the Clean Water Act and today holds the longest record of environmental compliance of any company in industrial laundry in the country
  • 1991: Jim Buik promoted to president
  • 1992: Roscoe launches an annual customer satisfaction survey that still informs business development today
  • 1993: New technologies in barcoding and automatic sorting are added
  • 2001: Earned ISO certification
  • 2009: Consolidation and modernization of the existing plant
  • 2016: Julia Buik, a fourth-generation family member, joins the company to lead Roscoe’s information technology
  • 2017: Major renovation begins on Roscoe’s 100-year-old building to install a state-of-the-art Kannegiesser sorting system, drawing visits by industry leaders globally
  • 2018: Roscoe earns TRSA Hygienically Clean Certification and OSHA SHARP Certification (Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program)
  • 2021: Roscoe turns 100!
  • 2022: Chicago City Council designates 3500 block of West Harrison Street “Honorary Donald W. Buik Way”

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