This is
Erkan | Auburn
Local Business Owner

My name is Erkan Ergun, I was bornSeptember 1967 in Adapazari, located north of Turkey, an hours drive from Istanbul.

Our village is located 45 mins drive from Adapazari on the Black Sea. We own hazelnut farms and live in one of the most beautiful places in the worldwhere the mountains meet the sea.In this part of the world you actually live the four seasons in full where you get the 40 degrees summers and the snow up to your knees in winter.

My father, Ahmet Ergun, was an electrician and worked for a large factory.My mum, Fatma Ergun, was and still is a housewife.

My parents decided to come to Australia for a few years to make some money and return back home, like most Turks at that time.

We came to Australia in 1971 and lived in Melbourne. My parents were working 2 – 3 jobs in factories, with no English, and I was in childcare at first then started my Schooling at Mentone and Cheltenham. After achieving what we come for we left this beautiful country to return home.

We returned back to Turkey 1975, but things had changed.Nothing was as when we had left. After 3 years we decided to return to Australia but this time for good. We had family living in Sydney, so this time around we tried our luck,and fortune, here. I stayed back in Turkey to finish my secondary school and came later in 1983.

When I come to Australia the second time around I couldn’t speak English, so it was very hard for me to continue my education. When my mum had gone back home to see her sick mother, I quit schooland started to work at Manly at my friends pizza shop.I worked there and at my other friend’s kebab shop at Manly for about 2 years.

Myfirst taste of business and earning money was when I was 9 years old, back at our village. Behind our house we had big pear trees. I use to pick the pears and take them to the beach, which was a 2 km walk, and sell them. Doing business has always been in my blood.

I convinced my parents to help me and I started my first business at King Street Newtown ‘Café Enigma” in 1986. I ran this business and learnt a lot from this experience. After that I got into transport industry and was contracting for Mayne Nickless for around 15 years.

My mother’s younger brother, Nick, had come from Turkey in the early 90’s. He was working in the cleaning industry and had done well. He worked for some of the biggestcompanies and become a supervisor and was managing some of the biggest shopping centres. He approached me and asked, if I would go into business with him. He wanted to start a new cleaning company. I said that I would help him start it, but wouldn’t have anything to do with it. We started the cleaning company “Enviro 2000”then later changed into “Enviro Cleaning Services” and Nick grew the business, he was a good operator and a perfectionist, he always gave his customers the best service.

In 1998 Nick come to me and asked, if I would go into Cleaning supplies business with him. At first I said no, but after thinking about it, I said yes. We opened our first store on Parramatta Road Leichhardt. I still ran my transport business to pay the bills and costs for 18 months. I hurt my neck at work and couldn’t do much physically.

I couldn’t sit at home as this would have driven me mad! Istarted to come to the Store “Enviro Cleaning Supplies” and within a few months we tripled our sales. This gave me a boost and the drive to keep pushing. We had a problem in the Chemical side of things, either we couldn’t find good quality or the price was too high for us to compete in the market place. We came across a good Industrial Chemist who was looking for work and we agreed to start manufacturing.

There was an auction at Taren Point where abig chemical plant was now closed and all the equipment we needed was right there in one place so I decided to sell my house in Lidcombe and we bought everything we needed to start in one big hit and leased a factory at Greenacre. Now we had the upper hand as we could manufacture top quality detergents at a very good price.

We were running two business, we moved our store in Leichardt twice as the business grew, but stuck to Parramatta Road Annandale. We were dealing with all types of cleaning business, schools, pubs, restaurants to mums and dads. This is when I met my good friend Craig Laundy as we got the contract for the Laundy Hotel Group more than 15 years ago.

With the manufacturing side of things, we now work with the second biggest German raw material company in the world. They spend millions on R&D on better environmentally friendly ingredients and that’s how we update our environmentally friendly quality detergents and soaps.

Recently, we bought a property at 740-744 Woodville Road Fairfield East and moved our Annandale store over thereat Christmas 2012. We needed to fix and build the place properly, to get our Council and DA approvals, for our manufacturing site to move here under the same roof.

This took about a year and now we have both businesses under the same roof. Now we make the detergents and sell them direct to our customers as a Factory Direct Outlet. We have cut our overheads and running costs substantially and now we can pass on these savings to our valued customers.

Enviro Chemicals & Cleaning Supplies’ moving wasn’t a great loss to Annandale, as we deliver to our customers door step Australia wide, but know we can offer even better pricing and savings.

While searching for new local businesses to service we have developeda distribution network around Australia to help us grow. We are now looking for overseas markets to grow our business in exports. We already export to some countries, but we are hoping to open new doors with our Australian made quality environmentally friendly detergents and soaps.

It would be helpful for small businesses to have easier access to finance at a “startup” rate so that they can achieve an equal footing with competitors sooner and establish a client base that would enable them to expand.
(The loan would be similar to the first home loan interest rate).

“Buy Australian” and “Australian Made” should not only be sayings they should be a way of life for Australians. Whilst it is well and good to enjoy cost savings from “Made in Asia” products there should be a limit on what we want to give away of our continually developing Australian Culture. Introduction of an import duty would help protect our culture and industries.

To finish off my story, I went back to Turkey for a holiday in 2003 to visit my parents, they have moved back to Turkey to take care of our hazelnut farm. This was a life changing trip, I met my beautiful wife Duygu there and knew she was the one. We got married and we have three beautiful sons Emir (9), Aras (5) and Destan (1).

So this is my story so far…….

Erkan Ergun