It was 1982 when father Yngve Persson, Hans and his brother Tomas took out a patent for a line marking machine: the Supermatic gm10. It was a new step for the company, which until then had mainly operated as a contractor for the marking of car parks and the industrial sector. But the sports world beckons. And the Supermatic gm10 is supposed to make life a lot easier for greenkeepers and groundsman. "Now, over forty years later, we are still selling it. Even in Japan. Just like the Selectliner, one of Selectline's line marking machines," says Hans Persson (61), sales manager football at Trafik & Fritid. "Of course, the Supermatic gm10 has been revamped over the years."
Innovating and renewing has been part of Trafik & Fritid for decades, Hans believes. The company wants to be the "first choice of stakeholders" by investing heavily in good staff and focusing on service, quality and fast and safe deliveries.
How does this manifest itself in your daily work?
"In various ways. For example, we try to have our people all over the country, so that we can quickly connect with customers. In addition, I can be reached anywhere and anytime. Whether I am in Thailand or in our flat in Spain, I have my mobile phone with me. That's not much fun for my partner and daughter, but they have got used to it by now. Customers really appreciate the fact that we are always available.”
And what else?
"In the early 1990s, we came into contact with the local football club, IF Lödde. The groundsman told us that they were tired of lifting heavy goals every time they wanted to mark the field. So we developed one with wheels. It was a great success. We have also made goals that are shallower than the standard dimensions because a club did not have enough space behind the goal.
For me, service is also about something else. My father once gave me the advice that, as an entrepreneur, you should always work hard and take responsibility. Even when you fail a customer. If you go the extra mile to win them back, you'll get a more loyal customer in return."
Trafik & Fritid's ambitions fit in well with those of Selectline, which places great value on quality and partnership. When did you start working together?
"The first contact was about five years ago. Selectline called us to get acquainted. After a few conversations, we started working together. And we like that partnership very much! The products are good and they try to come up with the best solutions every time."
For many years, you only sold your own brand of line marking paint. Selectline has now been added. Why is that?
"I have been in contact with a company nearby, in Malmö. I was looking for a party that could help us with line marking products. That's easy, we'll do it on the side,' said an employee. He was wrong. There's so much involved in line paint, you don't just make it. It must not cause any problems for the machines, must be clearly visible and must not be washed away after a rain shower.
Selectline thinks about all that. Their strength lies in the fact that they focus their products on line marking paint. They therefore have a lot of knowledge and the products are of high quality.”
Due to Covid, many sports competitions in the Netherlands have been halted in recent months and there has been no demand for line marking products. How was it in Sweden?
"The same, that’s a pity. Fortunately, more requests are coming in again; I'm looking at the future positively. The loss on the coatings has been made up for by the sale of Padel courts. This has increased enormously: last year, we sold a total of 450 courts. This year, we have already sold 550 courts in the first half of the year...".
Talking about the future, what are your focal points for the coming years?
"We are already buying more and more products from Selectline. We want to continue to do so: line paint, line marking machines but also field markers. In addition, we remain curious about the developments in the market, such as the arrival of GPS line marking machines. Technical developments are happening so fast these days...
We are also going to make our product range even less harmful to the environment. That also applies to our business premises: we want to install solar panels on the roof and exchange our cars for hybrid or electric cars."
Sounds like there is still plenty to do!
"Ha, I have been in this business for 41 years. And I sometimes say, jokingly, that I'll stick another 41 years on and look at it one year at a time. I still take great pleasure in my work. The people I meet, the products I deal with... No, I'm not thinking of stopping just yet."
Football and padel.
We are ahead of our competition with Trafik & Fritid and are successful with our products. And privately when I am with my wife and daughter in San Juan, Spain.
Most attractive Selectline product:
Selectline Ready Fit, for beautiful white lines. Also nice: you don't have to mix the product with water.
Most beautiful match ever played:
Many, many years ago, I played football myself. We were fifth division champions. That was great. By the way, I think it doesn't matter if you play in La Liga, the Premier League or the fifth division: the feeling that you are the best in your league is indescribable.
Sports moment that will always stay with you:
In 2019, Malmö FF played in the Europa League against Dynamo Kiev. Just before time it was still 3-3. In the dying seconds our club hero Markus Rosenberg, who played his last season, made it 4-3. The stadium, completely sold out, exploded with joy. Fantastic! (Youtube)