"Independent dealers make up seven percent of the vacuum sales in the United States," said owner Bert Hockenberry, who has been dismantling and rebuilding vacuum cleaners since he was seven years old. "The big box stores are getting 93 percent of the business."
By offering attentive service and an excellent selection of products, Strongsville Vacuum is an exception, rather than the rule, in the market. Far from being swept under by giant retailers, Hockenberry has just expended into a new location in the heart of Strongsville. A 10-year lease indicates his intention to continue to service and sell vacuums and floor care products for the long-term.
"I have never seen a community that is so loyal to local businesses'" Hochenberry said. "People in this community want convenience and service. That's what we provide. We have what you want, when you want it, at a price you want to pay."
Large retailers might offer one or two brands of the products they sell. But Hockenberry carries leading names in the vacuum market: Eureka, Hoover, Royal, Dirt Devil, Miele, Panasonic, Riccar, Lindhaus and Dyson.
For an independent buisiness, Hockenberry said, the key to success is service. That's a commodity not often seen in the big box stores, where the staff often knows less about a product than the customer does.
"I carry a larger variety of products than they do, plus I can sell them at the same price," he said. "But the difference with us is that you get service from the moment you walk in the door. What we offer is our expertise. We spend time with our customers to answer their questions and demonstrate our products. You can go into a big retailer and they know a little bit about everything. When people are making a purchase they want answers."