Though it’s been around for more than a decade, a black-owned janitorial firm has experienced explosive growth over just the past year.
Fresh Start Facility Services Inc., created by former longtime FedEx manager Johnny Fayne, grew from 13 local employees to 60 — and about 100 employees total.
Fayne started the company about 12 years ago as a part of his retirement. Fresh Start services industrial, manufacturing, government, education and construction clients, offering commercial janitorial services, interior glass and windows sill cleaning, trash removal, snow removal, recycling, replacement of light fixtures, floor care and more.
To accommodate its growth, the firm has also relocated its offices, from 1331 Union Ave. to 1353 Heistan Place.
Through a former colleague at FedEx, Fayne got his foot in the door at Hino Motors Manufacturing in Marion. He got that account and a few more.
“Now we’re doing steel mills in Blytheville, schools in Arkansas, libraries in West Memphis,” Fayne said. The company is also a subcontractor with Aramark for Shelby County Schools.
But, Fayne attributes his company’s growth to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Emerging Leaders Initiative and the Memphis Minority Business Council (MMBC) Continuum.
The SBA programming was a big help, he said, and the MMBC aided with information about partnering with large prime contractors, such as Aramark.
“The SBA also teaches you how to install processes in your business: accounting piece, HR piece, legal piece,” Fayne said. “How you put all three things together to run a successful business.”
Fayne also credits his employees themselves — and the retired professionals he has hired to help manage the business.
“The employees you get are well trained,” Fayne said. “We pay more for janitorial people. … The area managers are all retired professionals. They understand my vision, my goals, and growing the business.”
Though the company has contracts in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Fort Worth, Fayne said he wants to grow Fresh Start locally, noting many businesses that offer the same services he does are from outside of the area.
“We understand the employee base here; we handle them better; and we get more out of them,” he said.