Running a business is the family business for the Stengers.
Joel Stenger, owner of Sharp Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning, reflects on his entrepreneurial upbringing as he celebrates his fifth year as the owner of the local carpet and duct cleaning business.
“Seeing how hard my dad worked and never complained shaped my work ethic,” Stenger says.
When Stenger purchased Sharp Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning in October 2012, he was not yet an expert in the industry. But he knew he wanted to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit and do so with a company that valued the family atmosphere he’d grown up with.
Although he got his start at his dad’s company, Central States Industrial Supply, Stenger was working in database management when he decided that running his own business was now or never.
“I realized I needed to take a leap of faith now or stay in the corporate world,” he says. “I knew I could run a company well as long as it had a solid foundation.”
Sharp Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning was the obvious choice. Not only had the company been locally owned since 1979, but the two employees there had a combined 35 years of experience.
Those two employees—Tim Pryor and Jim Bennett—are still working for Sharp today, as well as two new employees—Jacob Halcomb and Jimmy Rickley.
“Our employees are amazing,” Stenger says. “They’re always on time, detail-oriented, and thorough in doing what’s best for the customer.”
Another business practice that guides Stenger is the importance of keeping his employees and customers happy.
“I truly believe if you take care of your employees, they will, in turn, take care of your customers,” he says.
Over the last five years, Stenger says there has been an increase in customers who value quality and professional experience over trying to save money by doing cleanings themselves.
He’s also seen growth in the industry because consumers are increasingly health-conscious and concerned about air quality both residentially and commercially.
“Duct cleaning is becoming more popular because people are experiencing more asthma and allergy problems than they once did,” Stenger says.
Why do you love the industry?
Stenger says seeing how Sharp Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning helps people and improves the quality of their lives is why he’s happy to head to work each morning.
“Knowing that we can help our customers with their needs and help create a clean, healthy home is why I love being a part of this industry,” he says.
Getting to know and work with long-term customers who regularly utilize Sharp Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning’s services is another perk of job, Stenger adds.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint what will be new in the next five years, Stenger says he sees continued growth for his business in upcoming years.
“I know we’ll continue to improve in the future,” he says, “There’s always a way to better serve customers.”
Whether that’s adding another truck or another location, maintaining a family-like atmosphere and customer-first mentality is something that will remain consistent in the years to come.