It’s a Blizzard of Activity for Steven Moon’s Restroom Company When Canadians Celebrate the National Sport

It’s NHL playoff hockey with the Winnipeg Jets, and King’s Services is there to help celebrate in the streets

It’s a Blizzard of Activity for Steven Moon’s Restroom Company When Canadians Celebrate the National Sport

David Mariner cleans the exterior of a bank of Satellite | PolyPortables restrooms near the main outdoor bar used by fans during pregame festivities.

THE TEAM

Steven Moon is president of King’s Services, a portable restroom and septic service company in Headingley, Manitoba. All of their portable restroom technicians were called into service for extra duty for the street parties held during the Winnipeg Jets home games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Mike Campbell oversaw sanitation and Terry Rempel the fencing.

COMPANY HISTORY

Moon bought the company in 2004 from founder Bruce King who started it in 1985. As a chartered accountant, Moon helped clients finance business sale transactions. He was talking with a broker one day and asked what the guy had for sale. “He showed me a couple companies and King’s was one of them,” he recalls. “It had a lot of good qualities from a business point of view. Six months later, I owned it.”

The business came with a staff of eight, so Moon was initially very hands on with operations. When he purchased another septic/portable sanitation company, the owner came on board and took over operations, freeing Moon to focus on sales and expansion. The company now has 35 people and 1,100 portable restrooms. About 50% of its work is portable sanitation, 40% septic and 10% fencing and plumbing. They work within a 30-mile radius and operate out of a 13,000-square-foot facility.

THE MAIN EVENT

In 2019 the Jets played six games before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs against the St. Louis Blues, who ultimately took home the Stanley Cup. Three of the games were held at home — April 10, 12 and 18 — and fans gathered in downtown streets adjacent to the arena, Bell MTS Place, to celebrate and watch the games.

“It’s a massive street party and everyone wears white,” Moon explains. “They have live bands, outdoor bars, food trucks and massive TV screens. It’s generally around 20,000 people, plus the people actually going to the game, which is another 15,000.”

MAKING CONNECTIONS

2019 was the second year in a row the Jets made the playoffs. In 2018, the company got a call from Jason Smith, the event planner working with the Jets owner. The call was vague: “We’re not exactly sure what we’re doing yet, but we’re going to have an outdoor party.” The event was planned on the fly without much notice.

“They didn’t know how well it would be attended,” Moon says. “They expected maybe 5,000 to 10,000 people, but it grew very quickly as the fever caught Winnipeg, and then they were getting 20,000.” The Jets played 10 home playoff games that year. After each party, the company and organizers analyzed the situation and adjusted numbers and locations. King’s Services just rolled with the punches, ensuring them the contract again in 2019.

THE JOB

Flexibility continued to be the name of the game in 2019. King’s Services was charged with providing portable sanitation and fencing on unknown dates for an unknown number of Whiteout Street Parties. “It could last one week; it could be six,” Moon says. “We quote it like each game is its own separate event.” They had to coordinate with multiple parties — team owners, the police and fire departments, and health and liquor inspectors. But planning was easier in 2019 and started in January.

“When we were 90% sure the Jets were going to make the playoffs, they gave us some preliminary maps where our fence and toilets were to go; we gave them our comments on it and did two site walks,” Moon says. “We did as much planning as we could ahead of time, but we did not know when the first game was until three days before.”


BY THE NUMBERS

In 2019 event planners decided to charge $5 (given to charity) to attend the parties so they’d know how many people to expect, making it easier for vendors to plan. They also knew exactly where they wanted everything to go. For each party, King’s Services set up 95 standard units, eight wheelchair-accessible units and 16 hand-wash stations (all Satellite | PolyPortables) — 40 units in the main area, 15 in the alcohol-free family zone, one for the TV crew, one behind the stage and the rest in the food court. They also brought in about 7,000 feet of Modu-Loc fencing for crowd control, to mark the perimeter and to designate alcohol-serving areas.

LET’S ROLL

Initial fencing setup took six team members 2 1/2 days. Some of it remained in place after each game, the rest were taken back to the shop until the next party. About 15 people brought in the sanitation equipment the day before and the day of the first party, starting at 4 a.m. to avoid rush hour. They used three Saturn Industries 14-unit transport trailers. Four streets were closed late in the morning for the 4 p.m. parties and reopened an hour after the game around 11 p.m., at which time 12 technicians began the three-hour process of pumping and moving units to eight downtown parking spaces for storage. The two subsequent street parties required a smaller setup crew since units were on site, but the team still started around 4 a.m. to move everything into place.

When the Jets lost the series on Saturday, April 20, in St. Louis, the crew made the usual 4 a.m. run on Monday, but this time to pick up the units and return them to the shop. It took 1 1/2 days to tear down the fencing.

KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN

Six vacuum trucks were used, all using Ford F-550s. Two were built out by SchellVac Equipment with 650-gallon waste and 300-gallon freshwater carbon steel tanks and Fruitland 250 pumps. The rest were from Satellite Vacuum Trucks and had Masport HXL4V pumps, one with a 775-gallon waste and 400-gallon freshwater aluminum tank, one with a 450-gallon waste and 150-gallon freshwater steel tank, and two with 650-gallon waste and 300-gallon freshwater steel tanks. Units were pressure-washed inside and out with 1,800 psi electric Cat Pumps pressure washers, then wiped down and recharged with Safe-T-Fresh deodorizer from Satellite | PolyPortables. Waste was taken to the city’s treatment plant.

Ten cellphones were recovered; they were able to return half to their owners. In one case, the phone was locked, but when the technician used the voice command “Call dad,” the phone complied. When Moon realized the phones were all owned by females, he guessed it was because they, like his own daughters, keep phones in their back pockets.

MIXED FEELINGS

Moon jokes they all shed a tear when it ended, but in a way it was a relief, too. “I have an awesome staff,” he says, “but it’s hard on them because of the early mornings, and then doing their normal route work, and then coming back late at night. But I think they were a little disappointed it ended after one round.”

The last unknown the company faces for this event is the future, and Moon just shrugs. “Next year, who knows?”



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