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Celebrating 50 years of cleaning innovation with SCJS
The Summer of Love for some meant Flower People, the Kings Road - and pop. For Roy Kent, it was the moment he seized to start his own business. And 50 years on, it continues to thrive as one of Prochem Europe's most dynamic distributors.
"Hard to believe it's been 50 years," reflects Roy's son, Andy who with brother Nigel, today runs the Sussex-based Southern Counties Janitorial Supplies.
Both remember the day their father started the family business in Brighton: by 1973, Nigel was on board, with Andy joining straight from school two years later.
"I didn't want to do anything else. Must be some kind of bug we all had, really, something in our DNA," laughs Andy.
"Dad had been an area manager with Columbus Dixon and then with Victor so machines were in the blood.
"Logically, the business started selling and repairing cleaning technology and then expanded into chemicals, wipes and so on."
Andy believes the big gear change for the business came with the introduction of hot water extraction in the UK cleaning market with the then-young Prochem, a prime mover in getting the technology recognised.
"We all saw the potential of these machines; buying them was a no-brainer. We bought into Prochem and never left!"
Andy and Nigel (Roy sadly having passed) regard the Prochem brand as a premier provider of machines and chemicals. "The Steemeasy 200 was fantastic, the innovation of the year when it came out," says Andy.
"Another great portable is the Steempro - an industry standard, the first choice of machine for all domestic work. Prochem chemicals are fantastic. Extraction Plus, Double Clean, Stain Pro and Microsan are all tremendous performers and Procaps is a fantastic maintenance product for offices with wonderful coverage."
The Kents are fans of Prochem training, too. "I'd recommend everyone in the business goes on at least one training course. It really will bring a lot of knowledge and thereby confidence," adds Andy.
SCJS is still very much a machines business. In addition to hot water extractors and vacuum cleaners it sells floor maintenance machines and employs its own service mechanics, requiring a good knowledge of floorcare of all its employees.
And it's still very much a family business. Mum Bette works there - as does Andy's daughter Rebecca.
The company today operates from depots in Brighton and Crawley and stocks over 5000 lines, including an extensive offer of Prochem carpet cleaning ranges for collection or next-day delivery.
Stocks are kept adjusted to the maximum levels with a thrice-weekly delivery to Crawley.
"With a policy of 100% fulfilment of order on first drop with our deliveries, we feel that we continue to progress Roy's original aims, striving towards customer satisfaction," says Andy.
18th January 2018