Surviving in a disposable world: Vacuum repair business still keeping its edge
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2017 7:50PM CST
As the saying goes, in the old days things were built to last.
Today many items like vacuum cleaners are so low cost that it’s cheaper to throw them out than it is to repair them.
This isn't good news for repair shops, but they are not all going out of business.
"I'm addicted to fixing and selling vacuums," said Steve Attiyat, owner of Canada Vacuum on Broadway.
Attiyat, who has been in the vacuum repair business for 35 years, said he will sometimes spend hours repairing a single broken vacuum, or hose at his store.
Like a delicate cardiac surgery, he clears blockages from the vacuum's arteries.
"Sometimes people call me a doctor," Attiyat said. “I'm not, I'm only a vacuum guy.”
He's now been at it for decades, but during all those years, the vacuum business as a whole has changed.
"The new vacuum, it's nicer, it's prettier, and unfortunately 99 per cent of it is unserviceable today," said Jack Simoes from Tache Vacuum.
Simoes said that is because the cost of an average vacuum is roughly equal to the price of its replacement parts.
So how do stores like Simoes and Attiyat's survive?
Simoes said some people just get tired of constantly replacing their vacuum.
“They give up,” Simoes added. “Now they're looking for a good quality machine, or they pull the old one out of the garage or out of the basement.”
And when they do, people like Simoes and Attiyat are there to fix them.