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Resilience and Reinvention: John’s journey from adventure tourism to CrestClean franchisee

Dunedin Regional Master Franchisees Nicky and Tony Kramers present John Corboy, centre, with a 10-Year Long Service Award.

Living the quiet life was never John Corboy’s thing — he much preferred outdoor adventures like whitewater rafting and hitting the ski slopes.

But that all changed 12 years ago, when he underwent a lifesaving liver transplant, which forced him to slow down and look for a new career.

“I was brought up in Invercargill and Queenstown, and I was in the tourism industry for years. I was raft guiding and then I had my own businesses windsurf instructing and waterskiing. Then, once we had a family, we came to Dunedin and I was in the building maintenance side of things, until I got sick,” says John.

“I had ulcerative colitis and that got really bad and also affected my liver, so I ended up having a liver transplant. Once I was out of the danger zone I had to redirect my career choices.

“I was 55 at that stage and I was thinking, what on earth am I going to do? After being really fit, I was pretty weak, and I wasn’t up to the hustle and bustle of getting into the hard grind of the building trade. I wanted to futureproof myself a bit more, so I was looking around at alternatives and I saw something about CrestClean and thought, I’ll check that out, and I went from there.

“I saw it as an avenue to get fit again while getting paid for it, and the flexibility appealed to me as well. It was a part of my recovery plan really, and a pretty reasonable way to make a living.”

It has now been 10 years since John started his CrestClean business and the milestone was celebrated at a pot-luck dinner organised by Dunedin Regional Master Franchisees Tony and Nicky Kramers, where he was presented with a special plaque.

“It was a bit of a surprise, Nicky and Tony sprung that one on me. I got a few phone calls and I thought, they really want me to come along to this dinner, but I didn’t click,” says John.

“The last 10 years have gone so fast. I never thought I’d end up being a cleaner, but it’s amazing how your journey changes over the years. It’s been a heck of a journey but CrestClean has made it really easy for me. It’s been really good.”

John says he’s really grateful to be part of the “CrestClean family” who have supported him in maintaining his business despite his health issues.

“Nicky and Tony have been really good at discussing and working out a plan to get through all those ups and downs, and to do that over 10 years is pretty incredible. If I’d been working anywhere else, I probably would have been looking for another job every time.

“Because I’m a one-man-band I’ve had to get the other franchisees to help me out. I’m old school, and I find that’s the hardest thing, asking for help, but it’s worked out really well and I’m really grateful.

“There’s a strong CrestClean family in Dunedin — they really pull together and I’m grateful to be part of that. It’s led from the top. Grant McLauchlan, the Managing Director, is a great leader and it filters down through everybody.”

Having reached ‘retirement age’, John has now scaled back his business, so he can “enjoy life”.

“I’m working about 20 hours a week now and, with superannuation, it still works out to be a pretty good income. I’m looking forward to doing some more outdoor activities and getting back into some fitness work, maybe a bit of skiing in the winter, and in the summer getting back into sailing.”

He’s also a volunteer with University of Otago’s Medical School, where he shares his story with students.

“Once you’ve gone through a lot of stuff like that, you’re humbled. There’s a lot of people out there that you feel grateful to and for. I do voluntary work because I want to give back.”

Nicky and Tony describe John as “one of life’s treasures”.

“He is extremely giving of his time, and the quality of his work certainly doesn’t go unnoticed,” says Nicky.

“Johns health hasn’t always been the best and we have always been there to support him and his business along the way. And his fellow franchisees are always willing to put their hands up to help repay John due to his lovely warm nature and always giving back.

“He continues to give 100% effort to all of his customers and has done throughout his 10 years with CrestClean. We are looking forward to John continuing with us.”


Crest Commercial Cleaning Ltd

P O Box 740
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Telephone: +64-3-477 1126
Email: service@crestclean.co.nz

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