Hyattsville Vacuum changing hands, staying put

Rob Rhine (pictured) is selling his vacuum business to his trusted employee Bill Scott. Photo credit Ellen Treimel.

BY ELLEN TREIMEL — Hyattsville Vacuum Service has been a cornerstone of Hyattsville’s small business community since 1951. After 26 years as a business owner, Ron Rhine is ready to move toward retirement and is selling the business to one of his trusted employees, Bill Scott. Scott has a background in small business management, has worked at Hyattsville Vacuum for the last several years, and according to Rhine, is “completely able to take care of things.”

The building where Hyattsville Vacuum is located was recently sold as part of the Route 1 Corridor redevelopment process. The new building owners will be leasing back to the company, and it will remain in its current location. However, if rent increases make maintaining the location untenable, Scott intends to find a new location nearby.

According to Rhine, there used to be at least five other vacuum stores in the surrounding area. As shopping trends move toward making purchases online, Rhine made an observation as to why his vacuum business has continued to succeed, while the other ones have all closed down.  He said that in addition to having loyal customers from the last two decades, the business has “diversified to selling cleaning supplies to homeowners and janitorial companies. Just selling vacuums and doing repairs would not be enough.” He anticipates that Scott will explore creating online offerings on the store’s website, which is purely informational at this time. As for continuing to expand the business and maintaining its success, Scott said, “We have a million people within driving distance of here. My goal is to get 10,000 and make sure they know that we’re here.”

One of the other main selling points of Hyattsville Vacuum is its personal customer service. In an era of big box stores and online shopping, both Rhine and Scott observed that people appreciate the experience of one-on-one customer service.

As for his retirement plans, Rhine plans to continue his volunteer work at a local Salvation Army, where he also serves on the board. He hopes to get in a few more rounds of golf than he has so far this year. And of course, if Scott needs a hand around the shop, Rhine said he is always willing to come back and help out.