SHREWSBURY – Jay Wilson and his father, Tom, didn’t know what to expect when they ventured out to open their own vacuum cleaner business in 1992.
Former Hoover specialists who worked at the city’s iconic Spags store, Jay and his father faced uncertainty. Their company, known as Certified Vacuum Cleaner, however, has since flourished.
“It was a little scary to open at first, but we did it,” Jay said in a recent interview.
Versatility, Jay said, is the key to success.
Eighty percent of Certified vacuum cleanerThe activity of consists of installing, maintaining and repairing central vacuum cleaners in residences.
However, they also sell, service and repair household and commercial vacuum cleaners. Their store also offers accessories such as hoses, bags, filters, brushes and inlets for several brands of vacuum cleaners.
Jane Davis, one of the store’s first customers, said the business remains viable thanks to Jay and his wife, Donna.
“They’re a hard-working, self-made couple who built this business from the bottom up,” said Davis, who is now semi-retired but used Certified Vacuum for her commercial cleaning business.
“They have repaired my equipment for 25 years and have always been reliable, knowledgeable and accommodating,” she said.
Davis adds that it’s hard to find someone like Jay Wilson who knows the vacuum industry inside out.
Indeed, in his 45 years with the company, Wilson said he has witnessed many changes.
One of the biggest innovations is the growing popularity of central vacuum systems. At Certified Vacuum, Wilson and his team have successfully installed these vacuum tubes inside the walls of many Massachusetts residences.
The tubes collect dust particles throughout the house and send them to a container located in a garage or basement.
“With central vacuum systems, there’s no dust, no bags,” Wilson said. “You have just emptied a can. It is a practical, powerful and durable system. It will last for the life of your home.
When customers buy traditional vacuum cleaners, Wilson encourages them to consider buying German products.
“Miele and Sebo vacuums are high-end but good quality vacuums because the Germans spend a lot of time designing the parts,” he said.
“Sebo offers a 10-year warranty, which is unheard of these days,” he added.
Jay said he’s seen several vacuum cleaner stores within a 30-mile radius of his operation close over the past decade.
Now he hopes one of his two daughters will continue to function once he retires.
“I was selling a central vacuum system to a guy one day and he told me you probably won’t be around when the 25-year warranty on that system expires,” Wilson said. “It opened my eyes when he said that.”
Certified Vacuum continues to move forward.
Although his father passed away, Jay said he knew he would be proud of their three-decade-old business.
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