Grrrrreat news for Bear Cleaning as it’s named Family Business of the Year

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A Kenilworth cleaning company has won big at the Midlands Service Excellence Awards.

Bear Cleaning, run by husband and wife Ted and Kate Hunter, was crowned Family Business of the Year at the Midlands Service Excellence Awards 2020.

The awards (which were postponed five times due to the pandemic) recognise individuals and companies that offer excellent customer service. The judges commented, “Bear Cleaning truly has the feel of a family business. They demonstrated a real entrepreneurial spirit in a niche market with no previous experience. They started off on their own and only later sought help and advice and have achieved 60% growth.”

Established in 2017, Bear Cleaning has become Warwickshire’s go-to company for wheelie bin-cleaning, gutter-cleaning and other external domestic cleaning services. It also works on commercial properties and has seen growth in this area. For example, the team is currently cleaning 8,000m2 of the Coventry Building Society Arena (formerly the Ricoh) ahead of the new season and the Commonwealth Games.

Bear Cleaning receiving their award

On the Midlands Service Excellence Award, Kate commented, “Ted and I were thrilled to win, especially as we faced competition from more experienced, multi-generational businesses. But what’s overwhelmed and humbled the whole family is the wave of congratulations we’ve received from the community. We’re a proud Kenilworth business, so it’s a delight to share a good news story.”

As well as Kate and Ted, the Bear Cleaning team includes their 19-year-old son working during his gap year, Kate’s brother who works on an ad-hoc basis, and Kate’s dad, Martin. Martin provided financial and practical support in the business’ early days and even cleaned wheelie bins. He may have hung up his high-viz in 2020 but is still involved.

It’s a family affair, but the enterprise is looking to grow. Kate explained, “One of the reasons we entered the Family Business of the Year Award was to highlight our recruitment plan. We’re focused on offering employment to ex-servicemen and women who find themselves homeless or in financial difficulty. We recognise that wheelie bin cleaning is not necessarily an aspirational career choice and therefore believe it should fulfil a more meaningful social purpose. We aim to offer a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘hand out’. The role can be a stepping stone to a different career, or (hopefully) our new staff members can grow and thrive within Bear Cleaning as we develop the roles accordingly. We’re still actively recruiting.”

Compassion is a key element of the business as both Kate (a former social worker) and Ted (a former police officer) have suffered mental health issues. “We’re in no doubt that the support of family and friends aided our recovery,” explained Kate. “We want to extend the same ‘in it together’ feel to our employees and ensure they benefit from the care and encouragement a family has to offer.”

Photo credit: Suzie Hunt Photography

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