Building to grow business on track

Son Nathan and father Peter de Clifford of Otago Cleaning Supplies at the new King Edward St site yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Son Nathan and father Peter de Clifford of Otago Cleaning Supplies at the new King Edward St site yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A more than $1 million business expansion is nearing fruition in South Dunedin, with 18-year-old Otago Cleaning Supplies readying for the shift into its purpose-built premises.

Company founder Peter de Clifford said the business wanted to raise its profile and future capacity, moving from the relatively obscure and small Fish St premises, to South Dunedin, where there are 11,000 traffic movements daily past the front doors.

Otago Cleaning Supplies does not manufacture chemicals or undertake contract cleaning services, but supplies cleaning products around South Canterbury, Otago and Southland to sectors including hospitality and industrial, motels, rest homes, schools and the university, plus a network of 20 distributors around the country, and also has links to grocery chains.

The two-storey 427sq m building on freehold land has bulk storage facilities, a showroom and administration office, which will remain a family-owned local business, run by Mr de Clifford's son Nathan and daughter Michelle Cuthill.

''I'm project manager at the moment, then its semi-retirement and off fishing,'' Mr de Clifford said.

The company employs six people, but Mr de Clifford hopes to boost turnover and expand within the new premises. He said trading had been tighter since the height of the property boom in 2007, and the past two years of a recessionary economy saw customers looking harder at their spending and there was increasing competition from imported products.

''The project is a more than $1 million commitment and we've had very good support from clients,'' Mr de Clifford said. Dunedin's Naylor Love is the main building contractor, with the project on time and on budget and scheduled for opening in April, he said.

Mr de Clifford said the project started about a year ago, with the earlier South Island earthquakes prompting the need for three geotechnical reports on the ground, and an almost quadrupling of the thickness of the concrete raft slab to 560mm deep.

Mr de Clifford worked for the McLeod Bros in Cumberland St, as a soap works contract manager, but when McLeod's was broken up he formed the Chemical Distribution Company and went into a four-person partnership with Phillips Products; eventually buying-out the latter.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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