Having completed my A levels locally in Peterborough at Orton Longueville School back in 1983, I started as an engineer in the copier industry working at a local company in Sawtry. This was back when photocopiers were liquid, took special paper and were very basic in features but still needed the mind set of a rocket scientist to make them perform reliably. Back then they used to actually come with a free fire extinguisher!!… can you imagine that today. At the time I was working on Mita copiers and once I’d mastered them I needed a new challenge.
I started working on machines by the manufacturer Sharp in 1986 and soon I had progressed to the point where I won first place in a national Service competition. I won the National Engineer of the Year award awarded by Sharp Electronics both in 1988 and again in 1989.
In 1991 I joined Canon as I had heard good things about their products and wanted to advance my learning. Within 2 years I was regularly achieving the position of one of the top 5 engineers in the UK (as measured monthly by the service performance statistics at Canon HQ). Whilst a great achievement, I realised at the age of 29 I needed a bigger challenge.
Having been told by many customers how happy they were with the service I delivered I realised there was actually a market for quality service, away from a large manufacturer, within the local area. I handed in my notice to my service manager in 1995 and explained my reasons for leaving, I was amazed when he told me ‘if I can’t keep you I want to join you’ and gave me his business card.
In August 1995 I started trading as Copier Servicing & Supply and business went from strength to strength servicing and supplying copiers within the local Cambridgeshire area. The focus was then, and has always been, on servicing which is why the name reflects that in the order of the words. This is what CSS stand for, Copier Servicing & Supply.
In 1996 I recognised I needed some help and contacted my old Canon Service Manager, Steve Warren, and tested his offer to join me. I was delighted when he came to join me as business partner and soon we moved that to fellow director and shareholder when CSS Copiers Ltd was formed.
For the next 15 years CSS Copiers Ltd grew year on year covering Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Suffolk with all our customers coming from referred and repeat business. Engineers joined us to support our growing number of customers but throughout this time all staff were engineers and we have never had, nor needed, any direct sales force.
In 2012 to allow Steve to retire from the copier business CSS Copiers Ltd was split into two, CSS Copiers (North) Ltd and CSS Copiers (South) Ltd to reflect the geographic area of operation from each half. CSS Copiers (South) Ltd was sold to a London based company and CSS Copiers (North) Ltd carried on with the same focus and drive around the Peterborough area.
Writing this it is amazing that 23 years of trading have passed and we still have customers who have been with us from the Canon days in 1991. We look after literally hundreds of machines all within roughly a tight 20 mile radius of Peterborough. We still have the same commitment to service over sales and although we don’t give free fire extinguishers out any more I do think we have set the air alight with quality Canon products and total support.