Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to pick your vacuum cleaner

It has occurred to me several times the irony of most vacuum sales people are men (don't know the statistics, just my observations) and most vacuums are used by women (before the men yell at me, yes, I know a lot of men vacuum; again, my observations of selling vacuums, more to women than men).  There appears to be a disconnect here!

Before I met my husband, I had my heart set on a certain brand of vacuum cleaner that I was saving my money for.  Yes, I bought into the wonderful advertising genius of said vacuum.  After I met Steve, he educated me as to why that would be a bad decision.  He was right.  For me, bagless is not the way to go.  I have allergies, pretty severe at times, and don't need the dust in my face that using a bagless vacuum gives you.  But this is where the disconnect comes in.  What you like, what is a good vacuum, what will last, all factors that need to be considered.  Steve, (my husband, the vacuum guy) agrees.  If you don't like your vacuum, you won't use it.  The following are my observations, suggestions when choosing a vacuum.

1.  Ask for recommendations from friends.  Not only what they bought, but where they bought.  Ask what they do and do not like about their vacuum.

2.  Think about how you use your vacuum and what you do and do not like about your current or last vacuum.  Do you use it just on carpet?  Do you use your vacuum on tile, wood floors, laminate?  Do you use the attachments at all?  every time you vacuum?  Do you have pets?  Who uses the vacuum?  Is it for your home?  a business?

3.  Go to a shop where you can try out the vacuums.  If this is not possible, call an online retailer.   Make sure that the person you are talking to knows about the vacuum.  They need to have had the vacuum in their hands, know about the repair history, know about how it operates and how it lasts.   This is crucial so that you know what you like.  Tell them what you want/need and ask their opinion.  If they don't listen to you, leave quietly.  If they make recommendations, listen to why that one is recommended.  If you like the vacuum, like the sales person, it is convenient to where you work, live or shop, BUY.  If not, find a vacuum shop that is. 

4.  A vacuum cleaner is an investment.  It is an investment in your home:  keeping your wood, tile and carpet clean helps them last.  It is an investment in your health:  keeping your home clean can help your family be healthy.  It is an investment in the environment if you buy a vacuum that is made to last and do not buy a vacuum that you throw into the land fill every one, two, three years.  High end vacuums are made to last 20 years.  When you spread the amount over 20 years it doesn't sound so bad.

So, upright, canister, bagged, bagless, red, black, self propelled, lightweight, attachments on board,  it all depends on you, how you use it and what you are trying to clean.   So if you ask me what is the best vacuum?  "It depends."  (on all of the above)

Shop online at www.vacshack.com 
In the Oklahoma City area shop www.acleanerplace.com

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Epicurean Product Review

Epicurean Cutting Surface (cutting board) knife-friendly, dishwasher safe, NSF certified, heat resistant.

Get yours at www.acleanerplace.com
We also have a new Kitchen Corner on www.vacshack.com

My husband and I love gadgets.  We especially love kitchen gadgets.  When we lived in Tracy, CA, we would often go to the Corning store at the Outlet Mall Shop and browse for new and cool kitchen gadgets.  We have not found a store in Oklahoma City that we can embrace like we did that store.  So, we got the idea several years ago, after moving our business to Oklahoma that we would like to add kitchen tools and gadgets to our line of home products.  We got close to a couple of product lines, but for one reason or another (and one reason was because all the company's products were made in China) we kept declining to carry their products. 

We have since having that initial idea moved our retail store to another location in Oklahoma City and have changed the name to A Cleaner Place to reflect that we are a Home Store, not just a vacuum store. I have been researching and looking for made in the USA kitchen tools and gadgets.  I came across a company, Epicurean, and on a recent trip to the Minneapolis Gift Mart, we got to see their products in person.  With my husband being from Minnesota and Epicurean being made in Duluth, MN, we decided it was a perfect fit.  
Epicurean was born out of TrueRide Inc., a respected design and build contractor specializing in custom municipal skate parks. In an effort to reduce senseless waste from TrueRide’s excess material used in skate park construction, Epicurean was founded and introduced a new line of professional-grade cutting surfaces for the residential kitchen.

This weekend I brought home one of the cutting surfaces to try.  I love cutting on it!    After putting it through a cycle in the dishwasher, all I can say is Wow!  Kind to my knives, eco-friendly, sustainable, made in USA, backed by the National Sanitary Foundation, this nonporous cutting surface will be easy to clean and will not harbor bacteria.  

Epicurean® understands the relationship between the products we manufacture and the environment we all live in. By purchasing Epicurean® products you are making a consumer statement and showing your commitment to green products and green business practices. Epicurean® is dedicated to creating long lasting products that are manufactured with sustainable manufacturing practices and made from sustainable materials. Epicurean’s internal ECO initiative is a process in which we look for areas in our business and products that are lacking in greenness and we consciously make a change to make it greener. See below for initiatives we are currently utilizing to reduce the footprint Epicurean® is making on this planet.

Epicurean® composite is Greenguard certified. The Greenguard Certification ProgramSM is an industry-independent, third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. The first Greenguard Certification was awarded in the fall of 2002. To date, more than 100 manufacturers across various industries offer Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified® Products.

All cutting surface material waste generated from the manufacture of Epicurean® cutting surfaces is used to generate electricity at a local power plant. Epicurean products are packaged with as little packaging as required to safely get the product to your door. We use recycled cardboard boxes and recycled cardboard padding inside the box. All packaging can again be recycled by you. No water is used during the fabrication process. All Point of Purchase display fixtures are made with 100% recycled HDPE plastic.

Epicurean's® material is classified green in large part because the raw material used is derived from renewable or recycled resources. Managed and sustainable forests, habitat conservation efforts, along with prudent manufacturing practices are just some of the environmental mandates that go into the product. During the saturation and drying process, over 99% of the volatile organic compounds are incinerated. The heat from that incineration is used for the drying process to minimize thermal pollution. There is no hazardous waste generated in the process.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Made in the USA, shopping local, new products

Shop online at http://www.vacshack.com/
In the Oklahoma City area shop http://www.acleanerplace.com/

My husband and I recently took a trip to Minnesota.  We went to Minneapolis to the Gift Mart.  We met some amazing people.  We will be adding two new product lines to our arsenal as a result of the trip,

Simply Neutral:

"Our products are made from natural ingredients. Period. We don't add dyes, fragrances, or synthetic preservatives. Because when you're cleaning your house, the last thing you want to do is replace the dirt with a bunch of toxins or VOCs. VOCS (volatile organic compounds) are carbon compounds that vaporize at room temperature and can be easily breathed in. That's bad news for our bodies. And, it's even worse for people who suffer from asthma, allergies, and multiple chemical sensitivities."

and Twist:

"Not a lot of people love cleaning. We think it's because a lot of people don't love what they're cleaning with. Hi, we're TWIST. We make plant based cleaning products we love. And we bet you'll love them too.
We've made a complete collection of naturally spongey, plant based, scrubby cleaning marvels. They clean dishes, respect the planet, and look good doing

We also expanded our line of Watkins Natual Apothecary Items, which we will have online and in our store soon.  Stay tuned. 

The second reason we went to Minnesota was to see family. We saw lots of family and it was great. 

While we were traveling, we decided to shop and eat locally in as many places as we could.  We shopped small local shops to see what products they are offering, look at their store layouts, chat with the business owners and buy items from them to offer our support of other small business owners.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

KeepitLocalOK Shop Locally

Hey Oklahoma City Shoppers.  Check it out, we are the featured business on the KeepitLocalOK website.


This is a great local movement to encourage shoppers to support local businesses.   It has certainly caused us to alter our business practices.  We now consciously look for locally-owned restaurants when we are going out to eat, try to shop at locally owned stores and have a new business plan when it comes to purchasing products.  We now purchase for resale (in the following order)
  • Local or Regional Products
  • Products made in USA
  • Products made in North America
  • Products made in Europe
  • Products made elsewhere
I hope you will consider every product you purchase and think about where you are purchasing, from whom you are purchasing, where and by whom are the products made.  I don't pretend to have all the answers to all of this, but I think by being thoughtful about it, we can make a big impact.  

Shop online at www.vacshack.com
In the Oklahoma City area shop www.acleanerplace.com

Monday, September 6, 2010

Miele Twist Upright Vacuum

Shop online at www.vacshack.com
In the Oklahoma City area shop www.acleanerplace.com

Did you know that the Miele Twist is a recommended vacuum cleaner by Consumer Reports?  "Overall, this is a very good and relatively quiet upright vacuum that excelled at picking up pet hair and keeping emissions low."

To read more about the Miele Twist or buy yours, follow this link.  

Miele S7210 – Twist Upright Vacuum (Royal Blue) The S7 family shares a range of exciting and innovative features.

A significant benefit of the Miele S7 is its innovative, patented SwivelNeck™ which allows steering in all directions. The SwivelNeck™ is so maneuverable the S7 can even be laid flat to the floor which makes getting under beds and other low furnishings easier than ever before.

Using the handle release foot switch, the casing is disengaged from the floor head and the rear wheels disappear into the body of the vacuum enhancing overall maneuverability without exertion on your body. Movements are fluid, natural and almost effortless.

The other key to the quick, light, and agile movement is smooth running front caster wheels that rotate 360° and have non-marring rubber wheels that protect hard, smooth surfaces like tile and wood flooring.

The S7 negotiates obstacles with incredible ease and reaches into inaccessible places... between tables, chairs and under chairs. Unlike other vacuum concepts, the Miele S7 provides this maximum agility without making you carry the weight. Thanks to superior engineering, when the vacuum is reclined, the majority of weight is carried by the base assembly making it easy to hold and remarkably easy to push.

Key Features • They boast a unique swivel neck joint to navigate around furniture
• Large 6 liter capacity dust bag
• 3 on-board attachments
Color: Royal Blue
Power: Speed Control: Suction control via rotary dial
• 1,200-Watt, Miele-made Vortex Motor
• 4,800 r.p.m. brush roller motor
• 2-motor system, with separate control for the floor brush
• Motor protection indicator
Filtration System: Super Air Clean Filter (Included)HEPA (Optional)
5.45 quart, Type U, HyClean dustbag, with spring-loaded, self-sealing collar Tools/Accessories Included (4) Integrated, accessories: • dusting brush
• upholstery tool
• crevice nozzle
• lightweight, telescopic, aluminum wand
Additional Features: • Impressive 54-foot cleaning radius
• Patented Swivel-neck for maximum maneuverability
• Automatic carpet height adjustment
• 360° rotation front castor wheels
• 12-foot, integrated, flexible hose
• Anti-tipping device for enhanced stability when using included accessories
• Reinforced, ergonomic handles for both operation and transport/carrying
• Low-profile power brush passes under low-clearance furnishings
• Headlamp: N/A
• Cord: 39-foot electrical cord

Long Life = Green Product… 20 years average use WOW. Miele vacuum cleaners are designed and tested for a life of 1,000 working hours, which with an average of 50 hours vacuuming a year will give you excellent service for up to 20 years. Stop filling the landfills with cheap ineffective vacuums.

Vacuum Cleaner Testing… Made in Germany - Forever Better Miele was first started back in 1899, the founders, believing that success was only achievable in the long term by being totally convinced of the quality of one's product. The motto 'Forever better' represents this philosophy. For over 80 years, Miele vacuum cleaners have been making housework simple. They have gone from strength to strength, from the very first bucket-type cleaner in 1927, to our most popular model ever, the S7 uprights.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Made in the USA

Shop online at www.vacshack.com

In Oklahoma City, www.acleanerplace.com

On a recent shopping trip to a well-known home store, I was hard-pressed to find anything not made in China for my kitchen.  Maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing, but......we have a small business that is run by my husband, my nephew and me with occasional help from other friends and contractors.  We have recently become a member of KeepitLocalOK, a group of locally-owned businesses that encourage and support the idea of shopping locally, whenever possible, to support your own local economy.  I know this is not always possible, but I have begun to embrace the idea when I can.  I buy my groceries at BuyforLess, an Oklahoma-owned grocery store, I shop the local farmer's market.  On a recent trip to Minnesota to see my husband's family, we ate and shopped locally whenever we could.  Even when I shop online for time, convenience and availability, I shop other small businesses when I can.

All that is to say, I decided to take this tactic a step further and try to buy local, regional, or made in USA products whenever possible.  WOW!  Not always so easy.

We recently began carrying Epicurean Kitchen Products because finding made in USA products for my kitchen was proving to be challenging.  We are adding RADA products to our lineup soon.  We have added Twist, made in Mexico and offered by a company in Colorado, Simply Neutral, The Soap Bar, Keep Buzzin Body Products, all made in Minnesota to our product offering.

Vacuum Cleaners made in the USA are scarce, but we do have Riccar, made in Missouri, and we are trying to widen our offerings of vacuums made in North America and Europe.  Sanitaire, made in Mexico, Electrolux made in Hungary, Miele, made in Germany.  Hoover, now owned by TTI, make their vacuum cleaners in China.  We still carry that brand because there is still a customer base that are loyal to Hoover.  We are trying to continue to up-grade our quality and support companies that are made in countries that I feel we should support.

In my personal shopping, I have learned to boldly ask the question, "Where are your products made?"  I am shocked an amazed at the answers.  When I asked a textile vendor where her products were made she went into a defensive spiel that no textiles were made in the USA, (ok, not what I asked) and continued with vague, they are custom-made, etc.  When I persisted, the best she could do is say they are made in various places.  Is it just me?  Do people NOT want to know where their products are made or are retailers ashamed of where they are made so they dodge the question?

I care! Our company cares!  I will continue to shop locally, purchase products that are made locally, regionally, in the United States and when none of those are an option, I will seek out products that are made in countries I want to support.  And, I will feel good about doing it.  After all, according to President John F. Kennedy,

"One person can make a difference and every person should try."

Shop online at
In the Oklahoma City area shop