Dowagiac Vacuum Center opensPublished 5:46pm Sunday, December 23, 2012
Dowagiac Vacuum Center prides itself on knowledgeable personal service.
After all, owner Tim Toner started in the business at 12.
His father was a Kirby dealer for 35 years, and Tim learned to repair machines.
“Pat’s brother has been bugging us for a long time to get back down here to her family,” Tim said.
They moved to Eagle’s Wood in Dowagiac from Farwell near Clare. Isabella County bothered her allergies.
They have four kids, seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Their shop of eight years remains in business under different owners.
Pat grew up in a family of seven children. About the only town around they didn’t have family seems to be Dowagiac, which beat out Watervliet in Berrien County to bring the store to 206 S. Front St.
Pat has a brother in Lawton, a sister in Edwardsburg, another brother in Eau Claire and deceased siblings who lived in Decatur and Marcellus.
“We talked to people in Watervliet and they were excited,” Pat said. “We made like three trips, but the more we went, obstacles kept coming up. No grocery store except in Coloma. A car dealership left. It just seemed like God was trying to tell us something. The building we wanted to rent, she asked if we had checked out Dowagiac because there was a lot more going on there, so we called and talked to Vickie (Phillipson, Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce/Downtown Development Authority).”
While they arrived too late for Dogwood, other festivals and summer
concerts, they were blown away by the magnitude of the Christmas parade.
“We love Dowagiac,” said Pat, petting her poodle, Izzy. “I roller skated at Sister Lakes” at Ramona.
“We’re friendly and take care of our customers after the sale,” Tim said. “We’re going to do household and commercial” sales, repair, parts and service.
“We have an American-made dry clean carpet machine that does an amazing job. I believe our email repair service is different than most. I’ve been doing this since I was 12 years old. I’ve had other jobs, but I got sick of being laid off.”
With 500 different brands of vacuums, “I try to carry as many American-made as I can. The quality here is, I believe, far superior to Walmart or Kmart for close to the same price. American-made machines include Simplicity, Oreck, Kirby and Rainbow. Dyson is made in Malaysia. When you get a machine, you want one you can get parts for. I can get parts for Dirt Devil, Hoover, Simplicity, Oreck, almost anything but Dyson. This machine is $600 brand new and it’s all plastic, where you can get a 15-year machine for $275. Panasonics are great machines, with steel brush holes.”
Like cars or lawn mowers, vacuums also should be serviced every year or two.
“We do things quite differently,” Tim said. “We give the machine a hot bath, grease everything. I’m real fussy about service. I try to get them going out of here like brand-new.”
Where Orecks have bags, Tim said, “Bagless, containers and filters can hold a lot of bacteria and dander. We’ve got bags for machines that are 40 years old. With electro-static bags, dirt sticks inside so you don’t get dust leakage like you do on a bagless. We use a commercial Simplicity machine, but their least expensive canister is $599, up to $1,600. In this economy that’s too much.”
Dowagiac Vacuum Center closes Sundays and Mondays.
Hours Tuesday through Friday are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Their phone number is (269) 782-0899.