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 fifty years,” reflects Roy’s son, Andy who with brother Nigel today run the Sussex-based Southern Counties Janitorial Supplies (SCJS).
Both remember the day their dad 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 floor care of all its employees.
And it’s still very much a family business. Mum Bette works there as does Andy’s daughter Rebecca.