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Wealden firm celebrates 30 years of keeping top stars cool

Kent company Complete Cooling Systems is celebrating 30 years of trading success, helping stars such as Robbie Williams, Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue, Bryan Ferry and Duran Duran keep their cool with their air conditioning, ventilation and heating systems. 

The West Malling firm has been the preferred supplier for several world-famous recording studios, including Abbey Road, Townhouse and Olympic Studios.  Other clients have included J Sainsbury, British Telecom, Guinness plc and the Ford Motor Co.

The family business was founded in 1984 by managing director Brian Johnston.  Brian’s son Alan joined as an engineer, with his daughter Carly coming on board in 2008 to head up the marketing team.  The firm now has 9 full time employees and installs and maintains air conditioning, ventilation and heating systems for clients across Kent, London and the South East.

“We pride ourselves on creating a good rapport with our customers and putting them at ease.  Our feedback shows that we give a friendly, professional, customer-focused service, and I think this has been the key to our success over the past 30 years,” said Brian Johnston.

Flexibility has helped CCS survive the challenging economic climate of recent years.  “In hard times the installation side naturally decreases, but diversifying and having a strong maintenance portfolio has allowed us to keep going,” explained Carly Johnston.

The last three decades have seen significant changes in the air conditioning industry.  “In the early days it was still considered a luxury, so only the major players on the high street and blue chip clients reaped the benefits.  But the extension of IT to all areas of our lives has led to rapid growth to cope with the demands to cool down offices, shops and IT equipment.  Changes in regulations to reduce the impact on the ozone layer and increase efficiency have also led to the whole industry having to retrain and meet higher installation standards,” said Alan Johnston.

Moving forwards, CCS is looking to build on its success by staying ahead of the competition and keeping abreast of new developments.  “With the building industry tightening up on insulation and air-tightness in new buildings, there is now a legal requirement for effective ventilation.  We are already involved in this field and intend to maximise our presence to capitalise on this growing sector of the market,” explained Operations Director Kevin Efford.

Key to CCS’s ongoing success is the friendly culture, which has been central both to building effective long-term relationships with customers and to recruiting and retaining great staff.  “We all get along really well and even socialise together: our engineers have been playing golf together after work for the past 20 years – and they’ll carry on for as long as they can swing their clubs,” said Brian Johnston.  

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