This is the fourth part of an eight-part article about Maintenance Mart distributing jan/san supplies for the Super Bowl.

Both in senior management positions, Riley and Kraus began working in closer proximity. They quickly developed a personal relationship. And as their personal relationship advanced, they began to think about getting married and starting a family. Or at least Kraus did.

“I was one of those people who did not want to get married,” says Riley. “I was not going to get married. I was not going to have kids.”

A combination of familial pressures and Kraus’ insistence finally wore Riley down. But she stuck to her unconventional script.

“So we had kids — and then we got married,” says Riley.

By the time the couple married in 1998, Kraus had left Service Resource Corporation and was working outside of the jan/san industry. Around the same time, Riley helped launch a janitorial supply company called Easy Janitor with Service Resource Corporation as the parent company.

“Really, at that point, Shelley was running it,” says Kraus. “She basically started it from scratch.”

The distribution side of the industry turned out to be a perfect fit for Riley.

“On the supply side,” she says, “if you can provide a solution to a problem for that contract cleaning company, then you gain trust, you gain business and people keep coming back to you, because they know you know what you’re talking about.”

Service Resource Corporation’s owner had originally created Easy Janitor to supply products for the contract cleaning portion of the business. This made Riley’s job a challenge, since competing BSCs wouldn’t do business with Easy Janitor, which was later rebranded as Maintenance Mart.

After several more years of operating in this manner, Riley and Kraus saw an opportunity. They felt that if they could peel off Maintenance Mart from Service Resource Corporation, there was room for the distribution company to grow.

“Recognizing this,” says Riley, “I went to [the owner] and said, ‘We’re going to stay here at this size if you don’t sell the company to me or somebody else.’”

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Introduction To The Cleaning Industry
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Growing A Business Together