A five-year, $52 million janitorial subcontract with Los Alamos National Laboratory is a huge job, but Eric Quintana Sr. envisions it more as a ticket to expand the retail side of his business.
Big contracts come and go in the janitorial business. Quintana sees the real growth potential for his Española-based Performance Maintenance Inc. in retail — selling company-branded green cleaning products.
Before the lab contract, Performance Maintenance had annual revenue of $3 million, with $2 million in commercial contracts to sell cleaning products and toilet paper to schools, jails, offices and industrial clients.
“That is where the business growth is going to come from,” Quintana said.
PMI for 10 years was the janitorial contractor at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. That contract ended in 2016, but it prepared Quintana for the lab contract.
“I think it’s the way people perceive us now,” Quintana said about how the Los Alamos contract has changed his company. “When you have people looking at your business, that’s the time to look at your business and what you can offer them.”
PMI delivers its branded environmentally friendly cleaning products — toilet paper; dish and laundry detergent; bathroom, window and all-purpose cleaners; air fresheners and other items — across Northern New Mexico to Taos, Chama, Las Vegas, Santa Fe and other communities.
Toilet paper is the big seller. The Los Alamos contract, which started April 1 for PMI, each year involves 1,500 cases , Quintana said.
“There is a lot of floor space,” Quintana said of the lab. “Also 10,000 workers. It comes out to a lot of people and a lot of toilet paper.”
The contract increased the company’s employee count from 60 to 170 — but 110 worked for the previous janitorial subcontractor and reapplied for a job to work for PMI. Quintana brought on previous janitorial contractors Tsay Professional Services, based in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, and Kleen-Tech Services Corp. from Denver to handle accounting and human resources, respectively, for the lab job.
LANL now gives a 10 percent local preference to companies in the seven counties surrounding Los Alamos bidding for work at the laboratory after recently doubling the percentage from 5 percent, lab Director Thom Mason said.
“The Laboratory needs to partner with regional companies to carry out our work, and there’s also an important economic benefit to Northern New Mexico,” Mason said in a news release.
Eric and Celina Quintana own Performance Maintenance; he is CEO and she is in finance. Their son, Eric Jr., also works in finance, while son Daven is general manager. Quintana said a succession plan is in place, and he sees himself stepping aside in about five years.
The company has its office, warehouse and 11,000-square-foot retail store at 835 N. Paseo de Oñate in Española. But Quintana envisions an expansion in stores — and entering the world of e-commerce later in the year to sell cleaning products online.
“Our next move is a retail store in Santa Fe in the next year or so,” Quintana said. “That will be our next major move.”
Quintana might open stores in other cities, but he and his family are in no rush to grow just to grow.
“It’s our endeavor to take care of the business we have,” Quintana said. “I don’t want to get more than I can handle. We have our sights set on the growth of our supply business. We have the largest collection of green supplies in the Southwest.”
The company developed an environmentally friendly product line under the PMI Green Solutions label. This includes phosphate-free dish and laundry cleaner; fragrance-free, dye-free and biodegradable cleaning products; and 100 percent recycled toilet paper.
The Quintanas started PMI in 1994 on “a fluke.” Eric, an Española native, was working as a safety manager at a local sand and gravel office, where one task was to find a doctor for workers’ compensation claims. The doctor’s office manager asked if he knew anybody who wanted to clean the office for the holidays.
Eric consulted with Celina, a native of El Salvador. They could do it on the side.
“It was for Christmas money,” Eric Quintana said.
This story has been amended to reflect the following correction. A previous version of this story stated LANL now wants to contract 10 percent of its outside business to companies in the seven counties surrounding Los Alamos. Instead, LANL gives 10 percent local preference to companies that bid on LANL subcontracts.