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Otago Cleaning Supplies was frst formed
in 1995 through the merging of Chemicals
Distribution Co, owned by Peter and Gwen de
Clifford, and Phillips Products, owned by Bruce
and Allison Maitland. Four years later, Peter
and Gwen bought out their partners to become
the sole owners of Otago Cleaning Supplies.
“My sister Michelle and I joined Mum and
Dad in 2000, shortly after they bought their
partners out," explained Otago Cleaning
Supplies manager, Nathan de Clifford.
"I for one didn't think I would ever head
down the cleaning supplies road as I was
previously an accountant. But I never really
enjoyed accounting, which is why, when the
opportunity came up to work with Mum and
Dad, I said yes. I started at the bottom and
worked my way up from there."
Based in Dunedin, Otago Cleaning
Supplies covers a wide-spread territory
servicing the lower half of the South Island,
from the Timaru area in the north to the
Lakes District in the west and Stewart Island
in the south.
These areas include numerous hospitality
businesses which Otago Cleaning Supplies
service with a complete range of guest
amenities as well as an extensive range of
cleaning supplies, accessories, machinery
and equipment. The company is also the
master distributor for the Silver Lady Miracle
Cleaner, with exclusive distribution rights for
New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacifc.
"Dad recognised an opportunity to get
into this market a few years ago. No-one was
suppling toiletries and amenities for hotels and
motels in the South Island; everyone had to
buy it from the North Island. So he jumped at
the opportunity with both hands, and now it
makes up quite a large part of the business."
Following his parents' retirement several
years ago, de Clifford says the company has
undergone quite a few signifcant changes.
"We took the plunge and purchased some
land so we could design our own purpose-built
premises in 2013. Our previous premise was
down by the wharf in the industrial area, so it
didn’t have a very good public profle. It was far
too small to keep up with customer demand, it
was quite hard to fnd and the parking around
the vicinity was very restrictive.
Leap to new premises a winning move
for Otago Cleaning Supplies
Four years on from moving into a purpose-built facility in Dunedin, Otago Cleaning Supplies has continued to
raise its profile. Manager Nathan de Clifford chatted with INCLEAN NZ assistant editor Lizzie Hunter about
the family-owned company's pathway to growth including its recent partnership with the Rapid Group.
"Our current premise has a much higher
profle, with more customer parking and a
dedicated inwards outwards goods entrance.
We like to think we're now the best suppliers
in this part of the island. There's no waiting
on products to come from the North Island,
and we offer same day delivery if you live
within the region."
While he admits the frst year after the
move was challenging, de Clifford says
overall the decision has paid off for Otago
Cleaning Supplies. "People did struggle to
fnd where we were at frst, but once we got
that frst year out of the way, we haven’t
Otago Cleaning Supplies has also managed
to almost double its storage space in its
facility, by implementing a new raised storage
Otago Cleaning Supplies staff from left: Daniel Campbell,
Mel Hanley, Brent Sinclair, Nathan de Clifford, Michelle Cuthill,
Cindy Cosgrove and Rodney Gibbs
area across half of its warehouse.
"The new storage area has already helped
us greatly in regards to meeting customer
demand. The health and safety sector has
defnitely caused a need for better cleaning
procedures and techniques which has
“Our profle has also increased greatly
with advertising, with more customers
coming to us. And with more business
coming through the door, you have to
increase the storage."
In July, the company joined forces with
the Rapid Group to strengthen its overall
national business strategy.
“We joined the Rapid Group because
we saw it as an opportunity to strengthen
our business in the face of our competitors
and also give us the ability to apply for
national contracts. We're looking forward
to progressing onwards and upwards with
the Rapid Group, who engage in a lot of
marketing and target national clients."
Looking to the future, de Clifford says
the plan for Otago Cleaning Supplies is to
continue on its current path of growth and
to start looking into national contracts and
"We joined the Rapid
Group because we saw
it as an opportunity to
strengthen our business
in the face of our
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