Small businesses need to diversify to survive

15 June 2020


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)’s recent report, New Horizons ( looks at how small firms are navigating the Covid-19 crisis, highlighting some brilliant examples of how small businesses have diversified in order to ensure they weather the storm.

Once such company active in the textile care market supplying ozone wash systems, is Laundry Efficiency, based in Cannock, Staffordshire, and run by father and son team, Colin and Graham Oakley. “During the crisis, the hospitality industry has been hit very hard with businesses being forced to close,” said Graham (pictured). However, since lockdown the company has still been active in the textile care market outside of the UK installing two of its laundry systems in France and one into Italy. BRAD Europe, based in Wigan, services tour operators throughout Europe from two laundries in France at Nantes and Beaucaire, and its laundry in Vicenza in Italy. The company said it decided to invest in ozone equipment supplied by Laundry Efficiency having conducted thorough research into the technology, including visits to two UK based laundry companies who were very successfully utilising the ozone-based washing system.

“The main drivers of this decision were the obvious improvement in linen quality (whiteness, feel and textile durability), reduced environmental impact (reduced carbon footprint due to improved utility consumptions) and the sterilisation levels that can be achieved in the final textiles while using ozone and Laundry Efficiency’s chemical set up, this being even more important with the advent of Covid-19. All these factors are of critical importance to our customers and ensures that BRAD Europe can continue to meet and exceed their expectations,” said a spokesperson for BRAD Europe.

Graham explains about finding alternative markets to explore to offset the effects on Covid-19 on the hospitality side of the textile care industry which has included working with food preparation companies and supermarkets to provide a quicker, more cost-effective way of cleaning.

“We can go into textile care businesses, offices, schools, nurseries, and so on and inject ozone gas into the premises which will kill the coronavirus and any other bacteria in the work place on surfaces, including walls, ceilings, monitors. by pumping the gas into the room. The size of the room will determine how long it needs to stay in there in order to completely eradicate any bacteria.

“This provides a deep sterilisation system which can’t be achieved by normal cleaning mechanisms. We have definitely had to roll with the punches through this crisis and explore areas where our products and services can be fully utilised to eradicate this dangerous disease,” said Graham.

Laundry Efficiency has won the Ethical/Environmental Category of FSB’s Celebrating Small Business Awards West Midlands three years in a row, thereby demonstrating its dedication to “reducing customers’ carbon footprints while providing them with huge cost savings”, according to the company.

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