Keeping Roseville Clean
4 May 2022
News, Success Stories, Choose Roseville
By nature, family-run businesses place an added emphasis on people. The personal service offered by small business proprietors centers around ensuring customers receive what they need. For A-1 Vacuum of Roseville, that service takes on extra meaning.
“Our philosophy is to be there for people as we “fight the good fight” against the buy-it, break-it, throw-it-away cycle,” said Russ Battisto, A-1 Vacuum CFO. “Our customers count on us to keep many of their vacuums & extractors running as long as possible.”
A-1 Vacuum, at 2575 Fairview Ave N. in Roseville, offers quality vacuum cleaners, expert service and repairs and a vast inventory of parts and supplies. The store got its origins in St. Paul from Battisto’s father, Sam, who began working for Hoover before venturing out on his own almost 70 years ago.
The business grew through good times and bad, surviving several economic slowdowns. Battisto’s parents moved to California in 1984, selling the company to the “kids,” who operated the business at their St. Paul location until having the opportunity to move in 2015 when the business next to them was looking to expand. Roseville, the Battisto’s hometown, was a natural choice, especially with the current location nearby the Rosedale Mall. Battisto said it was perfect timing, with Roseville’s many advantages lending toward business success. They retained many of their St. Paul customers, but the move brought in business from Roseville, Minneapolis, and many other communities.
“Roseville’s business climate and clientele are incredibly beneficial to a business like ours,” said Battisto. “COVID-19 was certainly a hiccup but we never really stopped growing because our customers value our services and are happy to pay for it.”
A1 Vacuum has felt the impact of supply chain disruptions of late that have impacted so many businesses across the country, but they have learned to manage through it.
“We have become “hoarders” so to speak, because you never know when you will be able to get the inventory needed to supply the demand,” he said. “You have to get as much as you can when products become available because you may not know when they’ll be available again.”
Potential in Roseville
Battisto has witnessed the industry change over the years, as manufacturers moved to a “toaster mentality” of throwing away, instead of repairing, products. As a result, customers get into the habit of buying a new vacuum at a big box store and then getting a new one when it fails. But he sees more people today choose to buy a quality, longer-lasting product locally, which perfectly fits the A-1 Vacuum philosophy.
“We cater to that customer who knows there has to be a better way and understands there are products with better quality that are also repairable,” he said.
On his daily five-block walk from his home to the store, Battisto sees continued potential for small businesses in Roseville, from friendly neighbors and customers to the presence of many different types of businesses near each other.
“The concentration of shops and stores here makes customers comfortable knowing it is a city that promotes these small businesses,” he said.
Keeping it in the family
In 2015, Battisto was looking to move to a part-time position in preparation for retirement, so he sold the business to his daughter, continuing the family tradition. But he has found it challenging to step away entirely. As CFO, he manages the finances and fills in where needed.
“My wife and daughter are doing their best to push me out the door, but it is difficult to stop,” he said. “I had no choice to learn on my own when my father left the business, so I would like to help my daughter learn more before I step away.”
The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive.