Corvallis Sewing & Vacuum Center
ADDRESS: 920 NW 9th Street, Suite 1, Corvallis, OR 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-752-0011
OWNER: Craig Anderson
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 51
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5 part-time
WHAT THEY SELL: Sewing and vacuum cleaning products and accessories
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Their high quality sewing machines and vacuum cleaners are made to last, and the service is outstanding.
If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine or vacuum cleaner, put Corvallis Sewing and Vacuum Center at the top of your list. Owner Craig Anderson takes great pride in his top-of-the-line products, and he says he’ll meet or beat any advertised price. Need to repair or service your vacuum cleaner or sewing machine? You’ll find Craig and his friendly staff ready to help you. And if anyone in your family is in need of an air purifier, stop by and talk to Craig. His enthusiasm for his products will bring a smile to your face, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.
When and why did you decide to buy your business? I bought the business in 2011 from Steve Brown, who was the second owner. Steve had owned the business for a long time – since 1966 – and he wanted to retire. I had been the representative for Miele [vacuum cleaner company] for 12 years, and Corvallis Sewing and Vacuum Center was one of my accounts. I was the rep in five western states, and I used to drive 60,000 miles a year. My wife and I still have kids at home, so I wanted to be off the road. When I found out Steve was ready to retire, I bought the business.
What are your specialties? My business includes all that sewing and vacuum cleaning entails – from repair to service to sales. My motto is, “Better products, better service, at better prices.” My favorite part of the business is when I provide a customer with a better tool than what they’ve been using, and they realize, “Wow! I now have a quality product.” I have a passion for the Mieles and for the creative side of sewing. One is a necessity and one is a luxury – a craft, an art. In addition to Mieles, I sell Riccar vacuum cleaners, which are made in the US. In terms of sewing machines, I sell Viking, Elna, and Brother brands. I’m excited to be the Mid-Willamette Valley’s newest Brother dealer. I also sell IQ Air, which is a Swiss-made, high-efficiency filtration unit. It’s one of the best in terms of indoor air purification. Three different episodes on “Extreme Makeover” have focused on air quality, and the IQ Air has been featured
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner? My biggest challenge is the perception that my prices are going to be higher than those at big box stores. I’ve met that challenge with the promise that I’ll meet or beat any advertised price. I believe there’s a common misperception that you pay more at a small, local independent business. As an independent, I have to offer products that are of better quality, that last and can be repaired. It makes a lot more sense to buy something that will last 20 years and isn’t disposable. The products I sell are sustainable. Miele has been around since 1899, and they believe that if they make a better product, their customers will pass the word to their friends.
What is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis? I believe there’s a core, growing group of people who support local independent businesses because they appreciate their products and services. That’s why they live in Corvallis. They don’t want to live in a “cookie-cutter” society.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? I like taking care of people, so I enjoy the service side of the business. I love it when people thank me because I’ve helped repair their machine. It’s not about the money. It’s about being in a community and helping the people in that community. I love the small town feel here.
What is your relationship to the community? I’m a Chamber Ambassador, which means I attend the business “greeters”. These are weekly gatherings at different businesses that give the businesses a chance to share what they’re about. As an Ambassador, I help facilitate these gatherings. I also support Love INC and CARDV, and I’m a member of CIBA. I’ve participated in CIBA’s Buy Local First Breakfasts, I have my “Buy Local First” sign up in the window, and I talk about it.
How important is sustainability to your business? The products that I carry are sustainable. They help decrease the owner’s carbon footprint because they don’t have to be replaced as often. They’re made to last. Also, I recycle all my Styrofoam, cardboard, and office paper at the South Co-op Recycling Center. I send all of the scrap sewing machines and vacuum cleaners to a facility where they recycle metals. When I went to Germany in 1999, we stopped at a rest stop, and there were about a dozen different recycle bins for people to sort out their trash. That impressed me. Since then, I’ve always tried to recycle as much as possible. I throw very little in the trash can. It helps save money since I can get a smaller trash can size, and, in the bigger picture, it helps save everybody.
(Interview and article by Annette Mills – December 30, 2012)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).