A pure water supplier for window cleaners, car valeting businesses and even tropical fish owners has launched its first service in Wales on a Saltney storage park.
Lock Stock Self-Storage’s River Lane site hosts the big, blue box that weighs 12 tons and contains 10,000 litres of pure water which it dispenses through a self-service system similar to a petrol pump.
Spotless Water, based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, is the company behind the venture and the Saltney filling station is the first of three to be installed on Lock Stock sites with Shrewsbury and Wrexham due to go on line soon.
The pure water concept is the brainchild of Spotless Water Managing Director Tim Morris and arose out of his own window-cleaning and car-valeting business because pure water means no streaks on glass.
It has taken off spectacularly with an unexpected demand also coming from people who keep tropical fish which find British tap water a less than ideal environment.
The valeting service benefited from the pure water which made it 27 per cent more efficient but keeping them topped up was a problem.
Tim said: “We had a number of vans travelling around London and running out of pure water and we thought how ideal it would be for there to be filling stations around the city so running out of water would never be a problem.”
He combined the concept of self-service petrol stations to pure water and spent two years developing an eight foot by ten foot container that will purify mains water to provide a continuous supply allied to a card and screen system for payment with customers given account cards and key fobs to access the sites and service.
Each water dispenser has 26 internal sensors which measure purity, tank levels and filter lifespan so they can be easily maintained while CCTV cameras also monitor their use and they are connected remotely to headquarters via the internet.
Spotless Water currently have 30 sites operational but plan to roll out to 450 locations over the next three years and storage parks with their secure premises with 24-hour access allied to water and electrical supplies have proved ideal and Lock Stock’s sites fit the bill perfectly.
Lock Stock Regional Manager Jeff Woods said: “It’s been a big hit locally because window cleaners can come in and refill the tanks in their vans as often as they need to in the knowledge there is a constant uninterrupted supply here.
“It’s brilliant for car valet services as well and for pet shops and aquariums that keep tropical fish.
“Spotless Water pay us rent for the space their dispenser occupies and for the water and electricity they use so it works well for them and for their customers with the added bonus of us offering Spotless water customers 25 per cent off storage.”
Window cleaners start arriving early at Saltney and Peter Furnival, of Penyffordd, near Mold, said: “One of my customers told me about it and while I make my own pure water at home this means I can stock up when I’m out on my rounds and carry on cleaning.
“It’s perfect for me because it’s simple to use, it works very well and you can call in here any time.”
Ellis Forbes, from Ellesmere Port, has a 1,000 litre tank in the back of his van and he said: “This is the first time I’ve used it but it’s ideal and it means you can call and fill up whenever you need to.”
Spotless Water Sales Manager Darren Minton said: “It costs 3p a litre plus VAT so with all the technology that goes into it that’s a competitive price and it’s always available.
“Even if a window cleaner has a purifying system at home it will take ten hours to produce 1,000 litres but with this it’s on tap and there’s no worries about maintenance.
“The units are made from shipping containers which contains a bespoke system which has been thoroughly tested and includes UV and carbon filters for maximum purity.
“Like most great ideas it’s basically very simple and it’s been tested thoroughly and the water is very pure.”
Lock Stock was founded by brothers Nick and Shon Powell in Denbigh in 1998 and now has 18 sites across North and Mid Wales and the Border Counties and also operates a van-hire business, Take Stock, from three hubs at Llandudno, Chester and Rhyl – they also sell fireworks at Chester, Rhyl and Llandudno and on-line.
Their existing sites stretch from Bangor along the North Wales coast at Llandudno and Rhyl, on the Dee at Flint and Saltney, near Chester, and inland at Denbigh, Mold, Wrexham and Newtown in Powys, and at Oswestry and Shrewsbury in Shropshire.
Lock Stock Director Nick Powell added: “We are always looking to diversify and to react to the market and working with Spotless Water is just another example of that.
“The business started because we reacted to a demand and it has grown in response to demand.
“We are always looking at ways we can diversify and maximise the resources we have – you can’t afford to stand still in business.”