That sentiment is exactly why Grant is so keen on hiring a first rate team. By most measures, Coastal Chemical is a small company with about a dozen employees. But it’s also unique. Not only are many of the employees fellow UNC-Wilmington alumni, but many of them are also former athletes.

It’s not exactly by design, Grant says, but the correlations have definitely created a constructive and upbeat work culture.

“I just always go back to the teamwork aspect. If you are an athlete at a decently high level, naturally there is that work ethic and teamwork,” Grant says. “From top-to-bottom we have very quality people that we have bought into our culture here.”

That includes everyone from his wife (who wears many hats within the company) to Coastal Chemical’s delivery drivers, he says.

“I tell our operations and delivery guys all the time: It takes months sometimes to get a customer, but it can take seconds to lose one. They are the last person representing the company during a sell, so their professionalism and willingness to do what it takes really matters,” says Grant.

According to Sommer, the staff’s geniality has boosted the company’s morale inside, as well as contributed to the company’s reputation within the tight-knit beach community.

“[Grant] has a knack for hiring people,” she says. “The people he has chosen for our company, they are just good people. They are like family. When you have customers call you and say, ‘You guys have good people that are coming in here,’ that really means a lot.”

It also helps that the staff members are close in age — most of Coastal’s employees are in their early 30s. The energy is good for the company, adds Grant, and even better for the jan/san industry.

“At ISSA, they are always talking about getting young blood into the industry,” Grant says. “We embrace a lot of things that the old school janitorial houses may not want to embrace. We embrace technology. We’re an opportunity for growth. Young people want to work with a mission.” 

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