Getting to know Anthony Edelen

Discussion in 'the Hot Seat Interviews' started by Mikey P, May 6, 2015.

  1. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    Anthony and I met up at the Florida show last week and had a chance to talk about his latest adventures in life. His Facebook followers get use to seeing him in one exotic local after another, usually with one of his young children in tow.
    Anthony's passion for life is to travel the seven seas with his children all the while running, from what I can tell is one of South Dakota's finest and busiest cleaning and restoration companies.

    I didn't have enough time to sit down with Anthony so I suggested that we get to know one another better in this format..

    So lets go..


    • Anthony you appear to be pretty young for a Jet Setter, can you please tell us your age and a bit about your upbringing? Education, family history, siblings etc..
    • Did you buy Louie's Carpet Cleaning And Restoration having any experience in the trade or did you learn as you went?
    • You mentioned that you have nine employees, does that include office staff? You also mentioned that they earn 3 times what other cleaners/restorer techs do in your area. Can you please describe your crew and how you're able to pay so well?
    • How often are you "on the truck"? or even in the office for that matter? And how long did it take you to get your business to that point?
    • South Dakota sees some pretty rough winters, are you able to keep your entire staff busy all winter?
    • Your site indicates that your company provides pretty much every known additional service known in the carpet cleaning industry. Which are working out and which have proven to be a costly distraction?
    • Do you have one employee that leads each division/service or are all of your techs trained to be proficient in all services?
    • Does your staff cringe when you go to trade shows, fully expecting you to come back with a new service idea or gadget for them to learn?
    • In your opinion how can trade shows improve themselves... IE: time, location, offerings?
    • What part of your business is your bread and butter?
    • Whom and what do you give credit to in regards to your success?
    • Five people in a hot tub on a desert island....name them...

    Thanks Anthony, please don't be a stranger here on TWGCCF!
  2. Desk Jockey
    Desk Jockey

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    Looks like he runs a nice operation. :cool:

    Louies_zpsb2qtmmyl.jpg
  3. Shane Deubell
    Shane Deubell

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    Have had many conversations with anthony, truly great guy.

    His sales $$ are simply amazing considering the size of town he lives in.
    Nice choice :headbang:
  4. hogjowl
    hogjowl

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    Well, this should be interesting.

    Quite the change.
  5. GeeeAus
    GeeeAus

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    Following.....
  6. Shane Deubell
    Shane Deubell

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    Did anyone tell anthony?
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  7. hogjowl
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    Obviously, he's ignoring Mikeys phone calls.
  8. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    he said he would do it over the weekend..
    But now I see he's on his way south to go storm chasing....
  9. Desk Jockey
    Desk Jockey

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    I heard a little town near Lincoln Nebraska got hammered from the storms. Severe flooding to the point they called out the National Guard.
  10. Russ T.
    Russ T.

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    I think that's where Dirk lives.
  11. Desk Jockey
    Desk Jockey

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    I know. I bet he is up to his eye balls in water.
  12. Jerry
    Jerry

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    He is about an hour or so from me. he might be in Lincon, that's about 3 hours from him.
  13. aspenedelen
    aspenedelen

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    Alright, I told you I would work on this over the weekend so here goes (bring the popcorn as this is a novel)

    My name is Anthony Edelen and I was born and raised in a very rural town in Southeast South Dakota. I was born in my home in the worst blizzard to hit South Dakota in 1977 (maybe that is where my fortitude comes from). My father was a farmer and a librarian for the University of South Dakota for forty some years until his retirement a few years back. My mom was a career politician for the State of South Dakota and the State Dept. Like my parents, both my siblings are incredibly successful in their own right. I have a sister who is a year and half older and currently is a nurse with the Army National Guard and the Wounded Warrior Project in Fort Hood, Texas. I have a year and a half younger brother who is a rising star as a Portfolio Manager for the South Dakota Retirement Fund (the top 1% of Retirement Funds in the nation)

    Throughout middle school and high school I played almost every sport our school offered but I excelled in cross country and track. I was so good in fact that when I was in 7th and 8th grade I was on the varsity team for our high school. In high school I excelled in the sports that I adored but I also excelled in the classroom. After high school I was given a cross country and track scholarship to Northwest Missouri State University in the town of Maryville, MO. While at Northwest I ran cross country and track for four years ( I could have been world class and potential Olympic material), majored in International Business, minored in International Relations, created a incredible auto detailing clinic named Miracle Detail and studied abroad in Belgium for a semester.

    After college I moved to the small town of Aspen, CO to chase a girl and to take my first corporate job as the Assistant Manger for the GAP. I held this position for a year and a half then was poached by The Sharper Image and finally by Kenneth Cole a year after 911. During my stints at the corporate level I was bored so I asked myself a question "What is Aspen lacking and how can I fulfill that need" My first year in Aspen I created a high end auto and private aircraft detailing company as there was no similar company in town. After I got bored with that business I asked that same question again and then started up "The Carpet Cleaning Co. of Aspen" as there were no similar companies within 20 miles. This business was even more wildly successful than I could have ever dreamed and provided the capital for my next venture, Aspen Capital Access which was a atm vending company based in Aspen. Five and a half years after moving to Aspen I left this amazing little Colorado ski for my hometown back in South Dakota to help my mom take care of my father who had just had hip surgery.

    Nine years ago I was asked to buyout the current owner of my now renamed company as in his words "I don't think there is anyone else in the area that can take what I have and excel with it other than you". So, after a lot of contemplating I purchased Louie's Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Inc.

    Now, let me preface and digress on the last paragraph with my upbringing in carpet cleaning. At the age of 14 I got a position working with my one day competitor as a carpet cleaning and water restoration tech. In this position I learned everything NOT TO DO as Lead Tech and future Owner. I'll leave it at that.

    Currently my company employs ten full and part time associates which includes office staff. I pay my associates through the roof but I also "take care of them" when need be. I am a firm believer in worker compensation but also praise. Everyday I try to let my associates know how proud of them I am and if we have a Client that gives praise I make sure I contact the associate(s) directly and tell them but I also let all of my associates know who did what within my company that deserves such praise. The majority of my of my associates have been with my for four years or longer.

    I personally think the main reason why I am able to retain and pay my associates so much better than my competition is that I am willing to reinvest a lot of my profit into my stellar associate training and total pay package. The majority of my associates come and go as they please but they all know what work has to be done. If they get the jobs done for the day they go home to be with their families, friends and if something comes up I as the owner take on that responsibility if I am here.

    I am rarely on the truck now and it has been that way since five years ago when I hired my very first associate. Once I hired this “diamond in the rough” I as able to meld him into the associate that could take over while I take a trip here and there. After three or so months I hired another associate and then I was fully “off the truck”. I still take my own phone calls but I have decided that after a little over nine years of doing this (I even fired my own mother for not taking calls when they should have been taken) that I want someone else to do this. On May 21st I have a Summer Intern starting as my Office Admin position. She has a JD/MBA and is thrilled to be starting a part time position with my firm. This is the caliber of people that my company attracts.

    Being in rural South Dakota I am not able to keep my entire staff employed year round but other than the cleaning staff my regular associates are given the option of continuing to work around the shop all winter or taking the winter off, paid.
    Here at Louie’s Cleaning and Disaster Restoration our company is known for not only Carpet Cleaning but for our Disaster Restoration and Mitigation company. We provide a plethora of Restoration tools to help Residential and Commercial clients become normal again after catastrophe strikes. All of the services that we offer have a very healthy profit margin (some better than others) but all of the services are crucial to my small business now. If I had to drop any of the services that my company offers it would be the Asbestos Abatement as I only do a handful of jobs per year but since this field intrigues me greatly I’m fairly certain it’s staying.

    Within my company I have three Top Associates who are proficient with their respected fields that they specialize in. One may specialize in Carpet Cleaning, Air Duct Cleaning and Indoor Air Quality Testing while the other may specialize in Carpet Cleaning, Trauma site mitigation and Power Washing. I let my associates pick what they want to specialize in and do not impede or force them if they decide they do not enjoy one of the services that we offer.

    As I and as Mikey have stated, I Jet Set a lot and I mean a insane amount. As of May 1st I’ve flown accumulative, just in 2015, twice around the world. I travel to a the majority of the trade shows because I want to know and understand the latest and greatest in our incredible industry. I take that information garnered at these trade shows and bring back tidbits to my associates that they can implement into our day to day operations. Some of these ideas work but the majority do not for our business model.

    In my mind trade shows have come a very long way within the last three years. Up until this year it was all about selling this and that within the breakout sessions at these trade shows. This really let me down as I am not paying my hard earned dollars to be sold this “limited edition marketing plan that sells for $20,000 any other day but here it is only four payments of $99.95”. I come to trade shows to learn how to better run my company by being able to talk with industry insiders and hear from stellar speakers on how they grew their company, not be sold on the next greatest marketing ploy.

    The side of my business that gives me the most reward has got to be two fold. One is my residential carpet cleaning side. My company was founded in 1966 and is one of the oldest cleaning companies in South Dakota. We are professional grade and incredibly good at what we do. We have clients still to this day who started with us back in 1966, This just shows you our strive for excellence and professionalism on a day to day operations perspective. On that note, the Restoration side is what I live for. I love taking a wet building (whether Resi or Com) and turning it into a nice dry and habitable place again. One of my losses that I digress upon is when our local courthouse flooded. Not only did we do the water extraction services on the building but we also performed a complete Asbestos abatement protocol within the restoration project. This was a huge success as all of my team members came together on this project. I am very proud of them all for what they sacrificed to get this job completed within the timeframe expected.

    My parents and my siblings have been instrumental in my life. If it wouldn’t have been for my parents whom just so happen to live across the street from me (think Everyone Loves Raymond) and the ideas and upbringing I had (I remember bean walking from sun up until sun down back when I was in middle school with my brother to help my father on the farm). My brother and I are insanely close which is partially why I am so successful. I am all about family and friends that have similar ideas and ideals that I have. I enjoy talking with people that are similar in nature to myself and what I strive for within my business. I do not want to talk with people that have no drive in life as that has no bearing on the growth of my company.

    Business today is amazing and we are expanding. We have a cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota that is on the side of a mountain. It is a beautiful place to raise our children and enjoy the mountain lifestyle I truly love. The people that I would most want to enjoy a few beverages with are: Madeline Albright, Vaclav Havel who was the first President of the Czech Republic, Elon Musk as he is a visionary and never is content with where he is at, Abraham Lincoln as he is one of the Founding Fathers of this amazing and growing fledging country we call home. Last but not least I’d like to share a innate conversation wtih both my Mom, my Father and my brother Jarrod. These three have been instrumental in my life and there is no way I would be where I am at currently without the support from my family and the professional advice given by them.

    On that note, I have two ridiculously adorable and beautiful children, Oscar who is almost five and has been to every Connections trade show and Experience trade show in Florida since he was born. My 1.5 year old daughter Stella who is the love of my life. My son has been to all fifty states and foreign country by the time he turned 3. His last seriously major flight trip and road trip with daddy was 19,000 miles. My daughter has been to 48 states and her last major adventure with Daddy was a whirlwind five and a half day trip to Hawaii and Alaska that I took with her two months ago. She will reach all fifty states by late June. My wife is a school teacher and works incredibly hard in what she does. She is the rock within my life. She keeps me stable and sane within my personal life and business. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

    On that note, this story is DONE!
  14. Russ T.
    Russ T.

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    Thanks for the intro Anthony!

    We have traveled a lot this last year too. Nowhere near what you guys have done but definitely can appreciate your spirit for adventure/travel.

    Everywhere we go, we want to move there and start a carpet cleaning biz the likes they've never seen!

    We ask ourselves "Why does anyone choose to live in the middle of Iowa?"

    The answer sounds similar to yours...its family.

    Please don't be a stranger here. Seems like you might have a lot more to share.
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  15. aspenedelen
    aspenedelen

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    Russ, I appreciate the kind words. I'll make sure I'm here more often as I think I have knowledge to give
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  16. Russ T.
    Russ T.

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    If you were in Aspen, maybe you're familiar with an outfit called "A Kinder Carpet"?

    I worked for their Summit County branch for @ 3 years.

    Beautiful (and expensive) country!
    aspenedelen likes this.
  17. hogjowl
    hogjowl

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    From what I was able to read of all that, you sound like an interesting guy.

    I look forward to getting to know you better.

    In shorter snippets.
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  18. Russ T.
    Russ T.

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    Also "United Drying"

    Good guys at the Summit branch.
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  19. aspenedelen
    aspenedelen

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    Rent in a five bdrm home on Snowbunny Ln was $9k a month. I don't miss those days
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  20. Mikey P
    Mikey P

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    An amazing life so far Anthony
    That's for sharing!
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