When did you first open?
Carolyn: “We’ve been here about 35 years.”
Were you always here at 1193 Marine Drive?
Carolyn: “We were up in Uniontown for about a year.”
What’s the most common repair?
Carolyn: “Some vacuums are user friendly and some are a pain to just change the belt.”
How do you diagnose what’s wrong with a vacuum?
Richard: “We plug it in and see. There’s a different smell if it’s electrical or burnt rubber if it’s a belt.
What accounts for a majority of your business repair or sales?
Carolyn: “Repair is probably 75 percent. We used to have more sales, but that was before Costco, Fred Meyer and Home Depot. They each took a chunk.”
How often should people have a tune up for their vacuum?
Carolyn: “There’s no set time, just depends how much use it gets.”
What does a tune up entail?
Carolyn: “We clean it out and put a new belt on, that kind of stuff.”
How long do belts typically last?
Carolyn: “They say you’re supposed to replace them every six months, but most don’t bother until they break.”
Since opening some 35 years ago, how has the industry changed?
Carolyn: “Vacuums are always changing, there’s always something new on the block.”
Are you seeing more robotic vacuums like the Roomba?
Carolyn: “No, we haven’t had any of those in for repair yet.”
Are most people are still using traditional upright vacuums?
Carolyn: “About 75 percent of people still use uprights. The other 25 percent use the canisters.”
What’s the difference between a canister and an upright vacuum? Are there benefits to each?
Carolyn: “It just depends what you need. If you have wall-to-wall carpet, you probably need an upright. If you have more wood floors and area rugs, you can get by with a canister.”
What’s the most common mistake people make with their vacuums?
Carolyn: “They suck up stuff they shouldn’t, like water.”
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever pulled out of a vacuum?
Richard: “A mouse.”
What’s the most labor intensive or tedious repair?
Richard: “Changing the bearings.”
Carolyn: “The restaurant and commercial vacuums, because they’re just packed full of grease.”
Is there seasonality to your business?
Carolyn: “Yes, especially around the holidays — everybody clogs their vacuum with pine needles.”
What part do you enjoy the most?
Richard: “Quitting time (Ha-ha).”
Carolyn: “The people. We’ve had a lot of the same customers coming through the years.”
Is there any advice you would offer to new business owners?
Carolyn: “Budget. If you have a month where business is great, don’t run out and buy a bunch of stuff, because the next month may be totally dead.”