Sunderland-based specialist refrigeration equipment dealer Cooltrader has celebrated 25 years in business.
Director Mick Brown reflected on his career, saying: “With no academic qualifications I became a commission only salesman for ECR Cash Registers in 1982. Within 12 months I was salesman of the year which I won every year until 1991 when I left the company and joined a similar firm selling refrigeration.
“Following a dispute I decided to start up my own business in 1993 with £5,000 and had to buy a vehicle within that budget.”
Mick’s wife Kath then left her job to work alongside her husband. He recalled: “It was extremely tough but I made my money through knocking on doors and cold calling, which I still do every week.
“I still believe that a personal service is the best that’s why I go out on the road and it keeps me sharp.”
Cooltrader opened a large warehouse in Sunderland but closed it 10 years ago after it developed a shopping website which proved successful.
In recent years the dealer has concentrated on the ice cream sector and specialises in kitting out new parlours. It has provided equipment from John O’Groats to Torquay and beyond, shipping items to Italy and Spain.
Mick commented: “I actually drove to a shop called Flavours in John O Groats to sell them equipment and drop leaflets and cards off during a 12 hour journey.”
He reported that he and his wife have invested their profits into property and also run a successful landlord business with a large portfolio.
“Our success has been lower overheads and higher profits. We have never had to change our name or owed money out,” he said. “I am not impressed by flash showrooms and lots of staff, it’s just more debt and more money to find at the end of the week.
“We can compete with anyone and do offer great leasing deals to new businesses.”