Clean and Responsive: The Keys to Keeping Music Venue Customers Happy All Summer Long

From spring to fall, Louisville’s Moon Portable Restrooms sets up and services restrooms at monthly Waterfront Wednesday concerts.

Clean and Responsive: The Keys to Keeping Music Venue Customers Happy All Summer Long

B.J. Davis gathers with Waterfront Wednesday staff members, including Catie Nelson (in a gray shirt) to discuss placement of the Floosh restrooms.

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THE TEAM

B.J. Davis is co-owner and operations manager of Moon Portable Restrooms in Louisville, Kentucky, one of three Moon companies providing services to construction and other accounts, including trailer leasing, storage units and roll-off containers. In addition to shared office staff, Davis has 10 employees. The WFPK Waterfront Wednesday service team included Josh Downey, manager, and service techs Greg Wilcher, Matt Thomas, and Davis’ son, Dylan West. Key coordinators were dispatcher Cecilia Duffin and Davis’ mother and sales rep Bobbie Davis.

COMPANY HISTORY

After losing his corporate accounting job in 2002, Davis went to work for his father-in-law, David Pottinger, owner, along with David Jones of Moon Cos. He learned the business from the ground up, starting as a laborer working on everything from equipment maintenance and prep to sweeping the yard. Happy with his enthusiasm and work ethic, after eight months Pottinger moved him into sales where he spent another five months. “Then they came to me and said they’d always wanted to get into the portable restroom business because it went hand in hand with their construction work,” Davis says.

Pottinger and Jones supplied the office, a truckload of portable restrooms, and one truck, and Davis provided the sweat equity — sales, delivery, service and accounting. The internet wasn’t quite up to speed yet and he just missed the phone book advertising deadline so he marketed the business by joining construction organizations and pounding the pavement. He also used his equipment as advertising. “I’d carry a unit with me everywhere I went — going home, taking my son to school, baseball games.” When he nearly reached burnout after about a year, he hired his first employee, which, along with development of a website, led to further expansion. A couple years later, he became a full partner in Moon Cos.

Today the company has 1,200 standard and 10 flushable PolyJohn units, 12 Wells Cargo and JAG Mobile Solutions restroom trailers, and one JAG Mobile Solutions shower trailer. Their service territory covers a 60-mile radius. About 30 percent of their work is for special events including waterfront activities and football games at the University of Kentucky.

MAKING CONNECTIONS

Through his networking activities, in 2005 Davis was introduced to Ashley Cox Smith, event manager for the Waterfront Development Corp., sponsor of many activities along the Ohio River park including WFPK Waterfront Wednesday. He approached her for work.

“She wasn’t unhappy with the current vendor,” he says, “but I was going to provide newer units and be in and out a lot faster. She saw I was a young entrepreneur and the passion I had.” He also sold her on the fact that all his units had hand sanitizer, which she really liked, and that all were the same style and color (tan). “Since day one, I wanted to have that branding. When you go around town and see tan units, you just know it’s from Moon.”

THE MAIN EVENT

The Big Four Lawn along the Ohio River was the site of the WFPK Waterfront Wednesday concert series held from 5 to 11 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month from April through September, featuring national emerging talent, upscale festival food, and cash bar. The event was free for the 5,000 to 10,000 attendees, hosted by the Waterfront Development Corp. and radio station 91.9 WFPK-FM. Started in 2002, it’s one of many events resulting from the revitalization of the waterfront. Each month three bands performed in succession, and kids explored the new Classical Corner activity area.

BY THE NUMBERS

For each concert, the company brought in 50 standard units (PolyJohn PJN3) and four wheelchair-accessible units (PolyJohn Comfort XL) and always had another 10 to 20 on standby. “Ashley always wanted to make sure there were enough,” Davis says. “If she thought the weather was going to be beautiful, she’d have me bring another 10 down. She made the final decision by 2 p.m.” All units were supplied with hand sanitizer, two rolls of 2,500-sheet tissue and J&J Chemical deodorant tablets.

In July and August, the company also showcased two of their newest units called Floosh developed by Mark Townes. The self-contained, solar-powered unit with automatic lights, ceiling fan, pedal-flushing porcelain toilet and motion-sensored vessel sink were well-received, Davis says. The company bought the units for their wedding business to fill the price gap between portable flushable units and high-end trailers.

Units were set up Wednesday mornings starting around 9 a.m. in two large banks on either side of the Big Four Lawn. Two units were placed behind the stage and one in the concession area. Service vehicles and Davis’ 2017 Dodge 2500 pickup truck were used for delivery along with 10- and 20-unit Lane’s Vacuum Tank and F.M. Mfg. hauling trailers. Wheelchair-accessible units were transported on a 20-foot flatbed trailer.

KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN

Service and removal of units was done Thursday mornings after other vendors were out of the way. The service team, wearing bright yellow company shirts, would arrive around 7:30 a.m. to pump and clean the units before returning them to the shop. They used two service trucks from their fleet, which includes a 2015 Chevy 3500 with a 450-gallon Imperial Industries steel slide-in tank and two 55-gallon water totes, a 2015 Ford 750 with a 1,500-gallon waste and 500-gallon freshwater FlowMark Vacuum Trucks aluminum tank, a 2016 Hino with a 750-gallon waste and 350-gallon freshwater Crescent Tank steel tank, and 2016 and 2017 Dodge 5500s with 1,100-gallon waste and 400-gallon freshwater FlowMark Vacuum Trucks aluminum tanks — all with Masport pumps. Waste was taken to the treatment plant just down the block from the company’s office.

GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE

Davis and Smith are always on the same page when it comes to having high standards and providing above-average service. “I like neat and pristine, and I’m a little OCD that the units all have to be straight and look perfect,” Davis says. “Roofs are a big thing with me. I want my roofs clean along with the inside of the units.” His operating philosophy is: “Are these good enough for my mother to sit on the seat? I would get in there and clean them like no other.”

And Smith was fanatical about making sure there were always more than enough restrooms for the event and plenty of hand sanitizer and tissue. The two of them went over the numbers after each concert. “I’d give Ashley a call and let her know how much waste we collected and how heavy the use was,” Davis says. “She asked me every time, ‘Do you think we have enough?’ — and we always did.”

Their attention to detail was not lost on the crowd. “I just got a lot of compliments,” Davis says.



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