Johnny, Storage on the Spot sold
Businesses will remain in Ironton
Robert Slagel, longtime owner of Ironton businesses “Johnny on the Spot” and
“Storage on the Spot,” recently sold the businesses to one of the employees.
In a letter Slagel wrote reflecting on 60 years of business in Ironton within his family, he talks about how the companies were started and what they have meant to him over the years.
“In 1957, my grandfather, Bob Slagel, started what is believed to be the first (or one of the first) portable toilet companies in the nation. Industrial Sanitation, Inc. DBA: ‘Johnny on the Spot’ was pioneered by grandfather in that year. Many more tough years immediately followed for him as she tried to ‘decode’ how to operate and make profitable this concept of his new idea of portable restroom rental,” the letter states. “Grandfather was able to ‘crack the code’ and figured out how to make such a business work and make modest money. Today, portable restrooms are commonplace and exist in almost every town across the United States. My research tells me that there were actually three portable restroom companies started in the U.S. in that same year, 1957. I am proud to say that my grandfather was a first.”
Slagel’s father then took ownership of “Johnny on the Spot” in 1976, when his grandfather retired. When Slagel was 12 years old, his parents moved the family back to Ohio from Texas so his father could run the business.
“My father was able to put some youthful energy back into the company, and ‘Johnny on the Spot’ provided a nice living for my parents and siblings for the next 20 years,” Slagel wrote in his letter. “It is remarkable that the company could survive here in Appalachia during the very slow financial years of the 1970s and 1980s. Thanks to my father’s conservative nature, the companies could ‘pull in the reins,’ reduce spending and survive through that economically tough decade or so.”
Slagel took over the company from his father around 1996 when he was around 30 years old, and at the same time, formed a “sister company,” “Storage on the Spot” (portable storage container rental). He said that both businesses remain in a sound and profitable state today.
Slagel sold the company to one of the existing employees, Cinda Clifford, who plans to continue to operate the companies out of their same Ironton locations and continue to hire local people and to treat customers, vendors and employees in a similar fashion the way that they have for years.
“Thank you, Ironton, Ohio, for having provided such a wonderful place to incubate businesses. It has been a pleasure for the Slagel family to have been allowed to operate those businesses in our town for the past six decades,” Slagel wrote in his letter. “I am looking forward to seeing those businesses remain in Ironton and continue to exist out of Ironton for years to come.”