He’s one of the region’s most enduring local businessmen, but Peter Coxen of Coxen Cleaning Supplies has finally called time on his career.
After originally retiring in 2005 with his late wife Jen, Peter was pulled out of retirement at the end of last year when tragedy struck the family.
General Manager and son-in-law Neville D’Arcy was diagnosed with level four bladder cancer in late September 2020 and sadly lost his battle with the disease on Valentine’s Day 2021. As a result, Peter returned to the helm to provide a familiar face leading the charge at Coxen.
Despite maintaining ownership of the company and having a close rapport with management during his 15-year retirement, Peter said there was an enormous learning curve to get back into the business.
“It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he said.
“Having someone else run the business, and run it very successfully, means you’re not involved day-to-day. Therefore, a lot of knowledge slipped through the sieve. There’s been a hell of a learning curve picking up where I left off.”
Now at the age of 75, Peter has decided to sell the business and said he is “absolutely, positively, emphatically” looking forward to making his retirement official and permanent with his wife Kathy.
“Having had a taste for it, it’s going to be very easy to go back to.”
And he had a special message for his fellow locals.
“I am in awe of everyone in business in Cairns. I truly respect the attitude of Cairns people. They stand behind every local business and everyone is considered important.
“They’ve been very good to me and to this company, and the loyalty and support is very much appreciated.”
As he counts down the days until he is officially retired, Peter said he’s most excited to get back to his property in Japoonvale, located between Mena Creek and Silkwood.
“It’s God’s country,” he said.
“It is just so quiet and peaceful. It’s the perfect place for a couple of glasses of wine watching the sun set.”
Coxen Cleaning Supplies has been manufacturing and distributing cleaning equipment, chemicals and other supplies to Cairns and surrounds since its establishment by Peter and Jen Coxen in 1983.
Its showroom is located at 1-5 Jubilee Street, near Cairns Central Shopping Centre.