Kevin and Tammy Leyse bought the business and then they moved it — and didn’t close up shop.
“We are a mom-and-pop store,” Kevin explained of A-1 Vacuum, which he and his wife purchased from longtime shop owner Mitch Turner, after Turner decided to sell the building at 209 Seventh St. SE, Cedar Rapids, that housed the shop for many years.
“You can’t dump the customers — even during a move. We stayed in late some nights just to get some work done because we knew the next day we had people coming in to help us with the move itself.
“Mitch asked me if I wanted to be a store owner,” recalled Kevin, a former construction worker and concert rigger who worked as a repairman for Turner for the past 15 years. “I told him to get me some numbers.”
The Leyses’ new storefront opened for business Feb. 4.
“Everybody has to have a vacuum,” he noted, “but not everybody wants to buy a new vacuum. I’ve noticed that more people are putting their dollars into their used vacuum rather than upgrading to a new one.”
Kevin will service anything, he noted, “but I will be honest with people.”
The only brand of vacuum they sell in the shop is a Missouri-made product called Simplicity.
The couple refers to themselves as “west siders,” having grown up and gone to school in their earlier days in the old Taylor neighborhood. Tammy graduated from Metro High School and Kevin attended Washington High School.
“We figured the downtown had only one way to grow,” says Tammy, so they both agreed to move to the west side of the river.
“The more businesses that come to the west side, the more likely we are to get flood protection for the west side,” she added.
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