For 14 years, Bryan Paige has worked to ensure private-school students have clean desks, sparkling-clean floors, squeaky-clean cafeteria tables, freshly painted walls and tidy bathrooms with unclogged toilets.
First, he worked at the British American School of Boston for three years, then the British American School of Charlotte – now the British International School of Charlotte – for 11 years.
Paige, a native of Boston’s Dorchester area, has been a jack-of-all-trades. His formal title: site manager.
The calloused hands of Paige, 52, attest to his time making sure the Boston school, then the school at Endhaven Lane in Ballantyne, was in tip-top shape. The diehard Boston Red Sox fan moved to Charlotte 11 years ago, spending the last five years in a quiet suburban enclave near Lake Wylie. He has two daughters and five grandchildren, all still “Yankees,” he said.
Now his penchant for tidiness and cleanliness has led him to a side business, a dream of his for nearly six years.
“One of the teachers from Scotland came up to me about five or six years ago and said, ‘I wish someone around here would clean garbage bins,’” Paige said. “I was skeptical at first. I didn’t believe her, but apparently this is a regular thing in England and Scotland.
“So I got online and started researching. I found a video of a truck in Scotland that lifted garbage bins and cleaned and sanitized them with a pressure jet. I thought, ‘Wow, there are people out there doing this.’”
Paige continued working at the British International School of Charlotte, but the idea of cleaning garbage cans in the Charlotte metro area would not go away.
Order has always played a big part in Paige’s life: At 17, he began work as a cook, starting as sauté cook and working his way to head chef at a restaurant in Boston.
Paige then worked for the Suffolk County House of Correction near Boston as a prison correction officer until taking the maintenance job at the school in Boston. When a position opened up “down South,” he jumped at it, and has been a loyal employee and friend to students and parents since.
But the idea of clean bins stuck with him. He started writing a business plan. He followed up on leads on trucks, office spaces and truck storage, and sought out investors.
“Everyone thought it was a unique and great idea, but (I had) no money,” said Paige. “I kept looking for investors and it was hard to do with a full-time job.”
Luck struck when the owner of Affordable Cleaning Service, which cleans the British International School, had one of Paige’s fliers on his desk.
Steve Ferreira, owner of Carolina Office Cleaning, which shares office space with Affordable, plucked it from the desk. He contacted Paige for lunch this past August and picked his brain, intrigued.
A week later, Ferreira called Paige and made a six-year dream a reality.
“I came up with money and he came up with the rest,” Paige said.
Paige still works full-time at the private school and has no plans to leave. Mr Tidy Bins, based in Lake Wylie, is his second job after work. Paige and Ferreira teamed up and found an eco-friendly bin-cleaning truck for sale in Atlanta and now call themselves the premier trash-bin-cleaning service for the Charlotte, Gastonia, Rock Hill and Monroe areas.
The pair – the only two employees – have not lacked business, working with HOAs for freebie demos and neighborhood bin cleanings. They offer a variety of plans ranging from a one-time cleaning for $35, up to monthly and quarterly plans for $11.25 per month.
“We clean your can on garbage day and then wheel it up to your garage,” said Paige. “Have you ever looked in the bottom of your garbage bin? Or smelled it? Our tidiness keeps away bees, rodents, dogs, snakes and raccoons.”
He said he is amazed that he finally owns a business after so many years of hard work in the maintenance field. “It’s hard work but exciting,” he said.
“My family is proud of me. Heck, I’m proud of myself. I did it.”
Kathleen E. Conroy is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find information about Mr Tidy Bins at www.mrtidybins.com.