Your industry news - first Number 1 for Recruitment
We strongly recommend viewing Cleanzine full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
Karcher makes a splash at Bristol in yellow, anthracite grey… and green
Even torrential rain and wild winds could not dampen the mood at international cleaning giant Kärcher’s Bristol Grand Opening last Friday, when a resilient crowd of invited dignitaries, local businesses, Kärcher partners and employees braved the weather to see a former car showroom on St Philips Causeway transformed into the UK’s first Kärcher owned, Kärcher operated entre.
Globally renowned for its pressure washers, Kärcher has been at the forefront of cleaning technology for over 75 years; its machines, accessories and detergents provide labour-saving cleaning solutions for every walk of life.
The Kärcher Centre concept is designed to provide a one-stop-shop for both domestic and commercial customers, offering sales, service and advice for the entire Kärcher range. Bristol’s strategic location and excellent transport links were big factors in its favour when the company began its venue hunt. Once the prominent site on the Albert Road became available, its excellent position and eye-catching design made it the perfect place for the global cleaning technology specialist to enhance the existing regional distribution network.
The centre boasts a friendly and knowledgeable team with extensive combined experience in sales, service and the cleaning industry, headed up by Centre Manager Sam Dow. Kärcher intends that the Bristol Centre will help better acquaint this part of the country with the full scope of the company’s offering, which includes domestic pressure washers, steam cleaners and window vacs as well as the full range of professional hot and cold pressure washers, vacuum cleaners, scrubber driers, carpet cleaners and sweepers. In parallel to this it will also prove a valuable resource for local dealers, providing an accessible venue to conduct product demonstrations and an arena to fully showcase the full breadth of range.
The 688sq.m site was acquired by Kärcher in October 2013. Since then it has, of course, undergone a thorough cleaning and extensive refit before opening its doors to the public in December. Last Friday marked the official ceremonial opening of the Centre by Markus Asch, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Management Board of Kärcher worldwide, alongside the Managing Director of Home & Garden Products worldwide Dieter Grajer; UK Managing Director, Simon Keeping; Professional Sales & Marketing Director, Craig McKay, and Center Manager, Sam Dow.
Split over four floors, the basement provides a servicing and workshop area, the top floor houses an office and the middle two floors form the showroom. Outside a large paved area is perfect for demonstrating larger products. Sadly the demonstration of the day - the excellent MC 50 City Sweeper, capable of grass mowing, snow clearing and gritting - was in the main admired from afar, with most visitors electing to observe its compact all-round capabilities from within the warmth and dry of the Centre!
The ground floor is dedicated to Kärcher’s Home & Garden range including the famous yellow pressure washers, steam cleaners, garden watering systems and the hugely popular new Window Vac. With product displays, information points and demonstration areas, it’s easy for visitors to get hands-on with the products. Indeed the morning’s first customers, Dominic Turner and his three year old son Adam, were having a whale of a time with the spray lance on the Feel The Power pressure washer demo.
A smart staircase leads to the upper sales floor and a gleaming array of Kärcher’s Professional products. The two classes of machine at the Centre are purposefully divided. Commercial machines are marked out from their consumer-use counterparts by their anthracite grey exterior – a recent visual distinction devised to help customers select the right machine for the right environment. Not only does the anthracite colour fit inconspicuously into its surroundings, but it is also more resistant to dirt, reducing the effort and expense required to keep machines clean. Typically Kärcher’s pioneering designers used the recolour exercise as an opportunity to further improve ease of operation and maintenance; now all cleaning controls are yellow and all maintenance and servicing controls are light grey – simple yet brilliant!
For commercial users, Kärcher’s breadth of range and configuration options are vital. Anyone who has ever lugged a heavy vacuum cleaner up the stairs or struggled with the length of its flex around, will understand the importance of matching the right tool to the right environment. When a device is being relied upon to deliver for a business day-in, day-out, it is essential that it is up to the task. This is where Kärcher’s consultative approach and unparalleled know-how really come into their own. Working within diverse industry sectors the manufacturer provides go-anywhere solutions like the brand new BR 35/12 C scrubber drier, premiering at this month’s Product Launch Roadshows. Be they quiet, unobtrusive products that don’t compromise on performance, such as the new T 17/1 eco!efficiency vacuum cleaner - perfect for customer facing environments such as hotels, restaurants and nursing homes; space saving yet rugged machines like the new B 150 ride on scrubber drier, ideal for stadiums and arenas; or the HDS compact class for garages and workshops where power is essential but manoeuvrability needs to be maintained - Kärcher has it covered.
The manufacturer’s drive to deliver a clean environment extends far beyond the individual user, even more than its famous yellow and anthracite grey, another colour is of paramount importance: green. With the company’s global reputation as a resource-conserving supplier, environmental protection is evident in every aspect of its work, from saving energy and raw materials in manufacture to conserving power for the end user with eco!efficiency. Beyond this, Kärcher works in the wider community cleaning streets and farms across the UK in its Kärcher Cleans Britain and Kärcher Mucks In initiatives. Furthermore, it has successfully cleaned and maintained national treasures including Mount Rushmore and the London Eye as well as provided advice and aid to support flood victims across the world.
Kärcher Centres have the space, time and knowledge to actively encourage practical learning with onsite experts always on hand to answer all manner of questions. It’s a model with confidence in the product at its heart; a certainty that once customers, dealers and suppliers have seen the innovative solutions in action, they’re better placed to understand their capabilities and make informed purchase decisions.
Bristol may be the first UK Kärcher owned Centre, but it is in good company, joining 14 existing independently owned UK Centres and an ever-growing list of Kärcher Centres worldwide; the company aims to have 1,000 operational globally by 2020. This is a bold move at a time when companies are in the main focussing on Internet orders.
Speaking at the Grand Opening, Markus Asch explained the rationale: “Unlike dot com businesses, we don’t sell a phone or a product; cleaning is an application. Cleaning requires know-how… Application-specific know-how that we can share with our customers face-to-face.”
This Kärcher know-how and the innovation that from its inception marked the company apart, is still very much in evidence today. Indeed later this month, Kärcher Centre Bristol will host one leg of the 2014 Kärcher Professional Product Launch Roadshow, showcasing six all-new machines - the result of extensive R&D and numerous patents - each one employing technology in new ways in order to achieve even greater cleaning results for the company’s customers; whatever their cleaning challenge.
Kärcher Centre Bristol is open Monday to Friday from 08:30 until 17:00 and Saturdays 08:30 - 13:00.
Images: The weather forced an unusual ‘inside out’ ribbon cutting, with all the visitors in the building sheltering from the elements. From Left to right: UK Managing Director Simon Keeping, Kärcher Center Bristol Manager Sam Dow, Managing Director of Home & Garden Products worldwide Dieter Grajer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Management Board Markus Asch, Professional Sales & Marketing Director Craig McKay.
The 2014 Kärcher Professional Product Launch Roadshow will take place at Kärcher Center Bristol next Thursday, 13th February 10:30 – 15:00. For more information and to discover other UK venues, visit:
13th February 2014