Swansea-based Prochem Europe distributor Cotton & Sons is meeting increased trading levels and the need for added capacity with relocation to larger premises at the city’s prestigious Enterprise Park.
It’s quite an achievement given the family business is only six years old. But then, director Sean Cotton points out almost 35 years’ cleaning industry experience is being shared by its management.
“My dad had a window cleaning business and when me and my brother Dan left school we both went off to work with him and basically got the bug,” he says. “We also worked for dad’s family run janitorial business after the window business was sold.
“When dad sold up we looked at broadening our expertise by going into janitorials. There is strong demand locally but also keen competition so we recognised we had to go the extra mile and service and brand recognition were key to achieving that.”
The four (mum Helen is a director, too) started from premises further out of town. “It just took off really and we quickly recognised we would be requiring more space,” says Sean.
Swansea Enterprise Park is home to a wide range of prestigious businesses and the move benefited the Cottons immediately.
Their added visibility in town meant their neighbouring businesses were soon added to the company’s customer base, an eclectic mix ranging from banks, universities and hotels to car showrooms, stores and offices, blending commercial with public sector users such as housing associations. Leisure industry customers include the National Trust.
The new premises in Valley Way yield double the warehousing capacity of the former unit, a larger showroom with improved display areas, trade counter and a machines demonstration area. The company now sells machines and has held successful Open Days on its premises. A fleet of three vans supports a fast order turnaround and a handy courier service is helping to service further afield and now online as well.
Sean had mentioned service and branding earlier on and they are clearly dear to the heart of the business.
“Yes, service is key to winning business in this sector otherwise you are just another box shifter,” Sean declares. “We stock recognised and established brands like Prochem because we know they are going to perform well.”
“We also like the brand’s service values as they reflect well on us by association. We’ve all been on the training courses and these do add to your knowledge and confidence when it comes to dealing with professional cleaners.”
“Prochem are very supportive of us and our efforts and we have now moved all our chemicals business to them. Machine sales are strong; in particular the Steempro Powermax continues to be our best-seller.”
Next year? “Keep hard at it” says Sean. “We shall certainly do another Open Day. And we like Prochem’s Distributor Training days very much – more of those please!”
Cotton & Sons are now located at Unit 6 Horizon Park, Valley Way, Swansea Enterprise Park, Swansea SA6 8RG.