SHREWSBURY – Jay Wilson and his father, Tom, didn’t know what to expect when they ventured out to open their own vacuum business in 1992.
Former Hoover specialists who used to work at the iconic Spags store in town, Jay and his father faced uncertainty. Their business, known as Certified Vacuum, though, has since thrived.
“It was kind of 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’s business involves installing, servicing and repairing central vacuum systems in residences.
They also sell, service and repair household and commercial vacuums, though. Their store additionally offers accessories such as hoses, bags, filters, brushes and inlets for several vacuum cleaner brands.
Jane Davis, one of the store’s first customers, said the business remains viable because of 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 repaired my equipment for 25 years and were always dependable, knowledgeable and accommodating,” she said.
Davis adds that it’s tough to find someone like Jay Wilson, who knows the vacuum cleaner industry inside out.
Indeed, over the course of 45 years in the business, Wilson said he’s witnessed many changes.
One of the biggest innovations is the rise in popularity of central vacuum cleaner 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 a home and send them to a container located in a garage or basement.
“With central vac systems, there’s no dust, no bags,” Wilson said. “You just empty out a canister. It’s a system that’s convenient, powerful and has longevity. It will last during the lifetime of your house. ”
When customers buy traditional vacuums, Wilson encourages them to consider buying German products.
“Miele and Sebo vacuums are high-end vacuums but of good quality because Germans spend a lot of time engineering 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 shops within a 30-mile radius of his operation close within the last decade.
Now, he hopes one of his two daughters will keep Certified Vacuum running once he retires.
“I was selling a central vacuum system to a guy one day and he said you probably won’t be around when the 25-year warranty on this system expires,” Wilson said. “It was kind of eye-opening when he said that.”
Certified Vacuum continues to push forward.
Though his father has passed away, Jay said he knows he would be proud of their now three decade-old endeavor.
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