Sharon’s Cleaning Service owner Clay Johnson stands at the reception desk at Foxconn’s Opus Facility, an account he recently landed as a result of advertising in Belle City Magazine.
BY KATIE MATTESON
“Well, I’m not one for this kind of stuff,” Clay Johnson said in an email in response to a request for an interview. “I’m more of a background type of person.”
He continued, “but then I tell myself, the fact is if you and Carl hadn’t started Belle City Magazine, then I wouldn’t have had an ad seen by an important person who just happens to be part of a company in the process of building the world’s largest manufacturing facility, and I wouldn’t have landed the largest contract I’ll ever receive.”
Johnson, who owns Sharon’s Cleaning Service, got the contract to clean Foxconn’s Opus Facility at 13315 Globe Drive in Mount Pleasant in January.
“When a woman called one day in December, I thought she was looking for information about residential cleaning,” Johnson said. “I told her that my minimum charge is $50 and she quickly clarified that she was looking for a quote for a commercial building and needed it right away.”
Johnson explained that it was easy for him to put a quote together quickly because one of his other commercial accounts, Community State Bank’s main office in Union Grove, had about the same square footage.
Later he asked a company official how they learned about his cleaning business. “The gentleman pulled out his cell phone and showed me a photo of my ad in Belle City Magazine.”
Johnson had never advertised his cleaning services during his 24 years in the business until at the end of 2016 when Nancy Jankovich, a fellow parishioner at Covenant Presbyterian Church, suggested he should advertise in the new magazine. “She told me the publication was local and the ad rates were reasonable.”
At that time he was trying to rekindle the residential side of his business which he had discontinued when Johnson’s wife Sharon, the company’s namesake, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. She died in 2011.
“When Sharon and I got married in 2000, she started managing the cleaning business I’d started in 1994 and took it to new heights – she literally made it her own – Sharon’s Cleaning Service,” Johnson said. “Our customers really liked Sharon. She had a special way about her and a smile that no one could forget.”
Johnson’s cleaning career actually began when he took a part-time cleaning job at the Racine Theatre Guild to supplement his income. He had started his first business called R Packaging in 1987, a packaging and shipping supplies company which he still owns and operates in the Racine Business Center at 1405 16th St. The Racine Theatre Guild is still one of Sharon’s Cleaning Service’s commercial accounts.
“Unknown to me at the time, I was starting another business,” Johnson said. That part-time job that turned into a business is now on track to making R Packaging the underdog of the two – only in the U.S.A.!”
Johnson has gotten to know the employees at Foxconn during the six months he and his crew have been cleaning the offices.
“All of the Foxconn employees are very dedicated to their jobs, I never see much goofing around and everyone always seem to be in good moods,” Johnson said. “They are very appreciative toward me and my employees for the work we do.”
“We’ve become friends and they make me and my crew feel like we’re part of the Foxconn team,” Johnson said. “We’ve even gone riding together on our motorcycles – three of us ride Harleys and the fourth rides an Indian.”
And yes, it was a big thrill to be a part of hosting the president of the United States for the groundbreaking at the future Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park and the open house at the Opus Facility the last weekend in June.
He’s looking forward to the challenge of expanding his staff to meet the needs of other Foxconn buildings in the state and those under construction in Mount Pleasant.
“I think Wisconsin and Racine County in particular are extremely fortunate to have been chosen as the site for this amazing undertaking by Foxconn. I know for a fact that the people in charge at Foxconn are dedicated to hire as many local businesses and people as they possibly can. And my small business is proof positive how this is going to affect all of our lives.”
“As I’ve said before, this contract has just changed the lives of me and my family and for a long time to come,” Johnson said. “So thank you Katie and Carl for starting Belle City Magazine and thank you Nancy for bringing it to my attention.”