Massachusetts PROs Face Big Crowds at Beachfront Event

Throne Depot works hard to keep pace with the demands of a growing Revere Beach sand sculpting festival.
Massachusetts PROs Face Big Crowds at Beachfront Event
The Throne Depot crew includes, back row from left, Vinni Santiago, Andy Sarcione, Tom Silva, Michael Cormier and Steve Brodeur. In the front row, from left, are Dan Gomes, Matt Gomes and Ramon Santiago.

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THE TEAM

Steve Brodeur and Michael Cormier are partner-owners of The Throne Depot in Woburn, Massachusetts, just a few miles from downtown Boston. Cormier handles the back office and financial functions, Brodeur manages the drivers and dispatching. The team includes a salesperson, a collections person, a yard man and six technicians (10 in the summers). They operate out of a warehouse/office that houses their vehicles and another warehouse where they store 100 deluxe units to keep them dry and clean.

Owners and drivers alike were on site at the sand sculpting event. “When we do a big event like that, it’s all hands on,” Cormier says.

COMPANY HISTORY

In 2005, Brodeur was working as a salesperson for a dot-com company and Cormier owned a Hino truck dealership. Cormier had considered becoming a distributor for his friend, Don Emerson, founder of FMI Truck Sales & Service, in Portland, Oregon, but eventually realized he wouldn’t be able to sell enough trucks since there weren’t many portable restroom companies in his area. “But when I saw that there weren’t that many people doing it I thought maybe we should get into doing this business,” Cormier says.

After getting his friend Brodeur involved, they bought a 2006 Hino from FMI with a 500-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater steel Workmate tank and Masport pump, and 26 portable restrooms from PolyJohn Enterprises.

Today the company has 1,000 units and about 70 percent of their work is for construction. They rely heavily on routing and invoicing software from Clear Computing to help them serve their customers in a 50-mile radius of Woburn.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

From 2011 through 2013 Throne Depot won the bid for the sand sculpting event, then lost to a competitor in 2014. For 2015, Brodeur says the bid was close, but he thinks they may have won out because they had more familiarity with the festival.

THE MAIN EVENT

Boston’s Revere Beach was the site for the 12th annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival July 24-26, 2015. The crowd of 750,000 was treated to live music, fireworks, amusement rides and gourmet food trucks. But the main attraction was the massive display of art created by 20 sand sculptors from around the world. Working with 12 tons of sand in an 18-foot by 18-foot area, contestants worked about 30 hours over a four-day period to create their masterpieces, competing for $15,000 in prize money.

BY THE NUMBERS

To supplement on-site restroom facilities, the company brought in 48 PolyPortables Axxis and four PolyJohn Comfort XL wheelchair-accessible units. Half were gray-sided, the others purple, all with orange doors, the company’s signature color. “We wanted to be different with our colors because the industry was always teal, especially up here in the Northeast,” Brodeur explains.

Units were placed in two banks, one at each end of the half-mile stretch of beach. Three units were set up in the center, spaced about 200 feet apart, for use by the sculptors. Combination padlocks prevented access by the public.

The three sculptor-designated units were dropped off on Monday for competitors who began sculpting on Wednesday. The rest were brought in on Friday with a caravan of the company’s vacuum trucks, as well as a 2014 Chevy Silverado and 2015 Dodge pulling two 10-unit hauling trailers from Liquid Waste Industries. The process was reversed at 6 a.m. Monday.

KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN

The company has six vacuum trucks from FMI, all with Masport pumps. In addition to their 2006 Hino, they have two Hino 268s (2008 and 2013) with 1,300-gallon waste/300-freshwater steel tanks from Progress Tank, a 2011 Isuzu NPR with an 800-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater steel Workmate tank, a 2016 Hino 155 with a 300-gallon waste/125-gallon freshwater aluminum Workmate slide-in tank, and a 2015 Hino 268 with an 800-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater steel Workmate tank.

Units were serviced Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. using the 2013 and 2015 service trucks. The company used Walex Products deodorant (cinnamon-spice premix and disks). Waste was taken to the local treatment plant.

To help deal with the crowds, two drivers were assigned to each vehicle. For the afternoon service they were escorted by police to help them maneuver through the crowds. Despite the escort, they were unable to complete their servicing at one end of the beach on Saturday afternoon. “After vacuuming out 10 of them they asked that we only add water and replace the toilet paper in the others,” Brodeur says. “There were just too many people, too much going on that they felt it was unsafe to continue down the bank.”

CHANGES FOR 2016

The servicing problems at the festival were unforeseen and out of their control – there were 150,000 more people than the previous year – but they know it reflects badly on them. “It’s not good for them or us because we want our toilets to look good and not be overflowing,” Cormier says. They talked with event organizers about 2016 and it was decided units would be taken off the main drag and placed on two side streets to ensure they’re accessible for cleaning.

Attendance at this free event has grown enormously over the last few years due to increasing media coverage. “Four years ago, we had six units there, now we have almost 10 times that,” Brodeur says. Next year will no doubt be even bigger, but the company will be ready. “We’ll do whatever we have to to make sure the customer’s happy,” Cormier says.



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