Joy’s Johns: Portable Restrooms & Septic Service

Like many local level septic service companies, Joy’s Johns started largely in response to marked under-development in their home town, Granger, Indiana in 1945. Easily one of the oldest septic service companies that we have covered, Joy’s has grown up alongside the Granger community and has been an important part of the town’s development over the years.
As the community grew, the need for septic services became increasingly more pressing. What’s more, job sites had serious safety issues to contend with. Like any good business, Joy’s seized upon this opportunity to deliver desperately needed capabilities and services to the growing town.

As a consequence, Joy’s Johns is now the go-to name in septic hauling and portable restroom service in their area. As they say on their website, “Joy’s Johns has supplied portable toilets to the community of South Bend, Michiana, Northern Indiana, and Southwest Michigan for as long as people have called them porta-potties.”

They’re not wrong, of course. What we call portable restrooms came to be in Long Beach in the early 1940s and were used to supply facilities to shipyards and docks. By building temporary bathrooms, contractors found that construction projects could be started and completed much more quickly and easily. The earliest models were wooden cabanas and were far from easy to clean and service, but that’s another topic.

By the time those temporary shipyard restrooms were being built, Joy’s Johns was already fully engaged with helping residents and businesses in Granger to cope with their septic hauling needs. Joy’s seized upon the new trend at a time when few to no other similar organizations were expanding their services in this direction. In fact, outside of major coastal metropolitan areas, porta-potties were something of a novelty.

As the portable restroom technologically evolved, Joy’s remained ahead of the curve by jumping to adopt new, lighter, and more sanitary models as they become available. In the 1940s, Joy’s dealt in wooden cabana-style porta potties before competitors in the neighboring counties did. This enabled Joy’s to stay far ahead of their competition. By the time other local septic service companies started to adapt to the trend, Joy’s had already begun to add lighter and more advanced versions. They were the first Indiana company of their kind, in the early 1970s, to offer the newest fiberglass versions.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, plastic portable restrooms replaced fiberglass. These were even lighter and easier to clean than the previous models. Shortly after that, companies started to develop chemical and biological aids to help the biodegradability of sewage. Once again, Joy’s Johns moved to add these advanced products to their inventory before the competition.

As the technology has advanced, Joy’s Johns has kept pace by on-boarding the latest models and all of the most advanced accouterments.
They offer a wide range of portable restrooms from flushable restrooms, handicap accessible restrooms, ADA compliant restrooms, and hi-rise portable restrooms. These come with wheelchair access, are designed to enable a caregiver to enter with a patient and attend to those with special needs. They are ideal for weddings and events, and following Joy’s Johns’ custom – they leave no need or potential need unattended to.

Of course, no portable restroom provider would be complete without high quality, air-conditioned restroom trailers. Joy’s provides the 814 Traditional restroom Trailer, which features:

• Private Stalls
• Central AC & Heat
• AM/FM Radio and CD/MP3
• Skylights
• Low Flow Water Saver Stools
• Formica Vanities and Stainless Steel Sinks
• Built-in Trash Containers
• A 575-gallon waste tank
• Women’s and Men’s Accommodations

The ADA compliant restroom trailers are even more impressive with all of the above and an 875-gallon waste tank, an ADA Private Suite, Flushing Toilet, Sink, Wall Rails, Recessed Towel Dispensers, and Waste Receptacle.

With their combination of the traditional restroom trailer, luxury restroom trailers, ADA compliant trailer facilities, and a massive collection of portable restrooms – Joy’s Johns has far more capabilities than we would normally expect from a company of its size and scope.

We asked their current chief executive officer, John L. Calvano, how Joy’s carved out and held onto an unusually large and diversified nitch for itself.

He said, “Initially it was luck. Our company’s founding father was something of a news wonk. He followed the papers obsessively, something few business developers at the time could afford to do. He learned about what they were doing in shipyards, building portable restrooms to expedite construction processes. This cemented the company’s tradition of seeking out and adopting innovative products and processes early. For many companies, that’s a gamble- but for us, it’s worked.”

In the age of rapidly changing information technology on which businesses are almost wholly dependent, this is a lesson we should all take to heart.


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