The award-wining SV24-7 Vending is run by husband and wife team Ian and Fiona Chambers who aim to provide all customers with a first class “coffee shop experience from a vending machine”.
With a wide customer base from both the private and public sectors, SV24-7 can count Clackmannanshire Council, Firpark Ski Centre, CJ Laing, Parklands Care Homes and Lothian Healthboard as clients. Their unique combination of customer service, healthy options and daily refills ensures a growing customer base.
2017 was a celebratory year for Ian and Fiona as they marked 25 years since their first meeting, 5 years in business together, 2 years as husband and wife, expanded the business into new premises and won the “Excellence in Customer Service” award at the prestigious Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. This recognition followed hot on the heels of their “Success through Sustainability” award at the 2016 Clacks Business Awards.
This expansion and the awards won continues the upwards trajectory the business has been following since they moved into their first unit in Ward Street at Alloa Industrial Estate in 2012. As an indicator of the good things to come, they immediately outgrew this first unit and quickly took over the next door unit as their business flourished.
They chose Alloa Industrial Estate for a number of reasons, firstly Alloa’s location in the centre of Scotland offered transport links and motorway access that was difficult to match elsewhere, the unit was keenly priced and they were very impressed with the professionalism of their new landlords, Ceteris (Scotland) Ltd.
Fiona takes up the story, “We knew Ken Lewandowski who was on the Ceteris board at the time and he put us in touch with Angela Ogilvie at Ceteris. Choosing Ceteris was easy and has proven to be a great decision. They are proactive, supportive and when their Business Gateway Clackmannanshire advice is incorporated, offer an all-round business support service second to none.”
“Due to the phenomenal growth of our business, we realised last year that we needed to expand and so turned again to Ceteris for property. Luckily, they had a unit in Cooperage Way that had just become available and that met our needs. We cannot fault them at all, the move to our new premises in November was seamless. We have more space to grow, the office flows well, we have a separate food room, meeting and training rooms and a delivery area.”
Angela Ogilvie, Operations Director of Ceteris agrees, “It’s been a delight to watch SV24-7 grow and develop over the last 5 years and to play our part in supporting them. It’s important to me, and a key objective of Ceteris, to ensure that we can continue to accommodate growing local businesses within Clackmannanshire”.
SV24-7 have expanded to a team of 15 staff and try to support local businesses whenever they can.
“We feel that it is important to give back locally.” says Ian, “All our staff live locally, we service and purchase our fleet of vehicles locally and we use a local butcher when buying meat for our vending machine pies.”
This small but important example of a focused vision is matched across the SV24-7 ethos. Although they have no dedicated salesperson, everything they do is geared towards the marketing, growth and image of the business. They use social media to spread the word, are active within the local business community, they supply branded clothing to their staff and ensure all vans are kept clean. They understand the value of their brand and ensure that the simple things are done well.
Fiona and Ian are keen to support their team and, where possible, offer flexible working. Ian is passionate about this and the wellbeing of their staff.
Ian explains: ”Our team who collect the money, service and re-stock the vending machines have a daily list of customers to visit and usually start early, sometimes around 5am. I encourage them to start at the farthest away point so that they are always on the journey home! Offering flexible working means that they can sometimes be finished at 1pm, giving them a full afternoon to organise things at home, or to relax in the sunshine. I tell them that in the summer they have the best job in the world but we understand that winter travel can be tough going. That’s why we invest in technology to keep them safe. All our vans are connected remotely to the office so we know exactly how everyone is getting on. If we see a van hasn’t moved for a while or is stuck in traffic, we call to ensure that everything is OK.”
If 2017 was a year of celebration and consolidation, 2018 is all about moving the business forward.
SV24-7 already search high and low for the best value products they can find for their clients. For example, they look to stock crisp bags that offer 15% or 20% extra free, they stock 600ml Pepsi for the same price as 500ml Coca-Cola bottles and so on. Clients are given new rather than refurbished machines and no query is too small to be dealt with.
2018 will see SV24-7 focus further on technological and environmental improvements as they look to provide contactless machines and introduce newer, energy efficient, models to their clients.
They aim to be a cashless business within 5 years which will reduce their carbon footprint, improve cash flow and free up staff from the laborious job of collecting and counting cash, allowing them to provide an even better customer service and a quicker response to queries.
Looking to the future, Fiona thinks that: “It’s a tough market but we’re well established and the recent expansion into new premises has cemented our market position. We need to focus on new business, sales & marketing and take advantage of all the benefits that new technology can offer. Generally speaking, we believe that the outlook is good for our business”.
To find out more about SV24-7, visit www.sv24-7.co.uk or call 01259 215577