- THE MAGAZINE
A fast moving fire had swept through the brick building, destroying in a few hours what had taken generations to create.
Twelve hundred beautiful oriental rugs being stored for longtime clients were charred and ruined. In the back room, the huge flat bed rug washer was destroyed. The antique machine is not even made in the United States anymore.
Armen Anslanian with his brothers, Ted and Henry, shuffled through the rubble, wiping away tears -- clearly worried about the future of their company, their employees and their customers.
"Most of the people who have been with us have been here 30-40 years," Armen told Channel 3 News standing near a row of charred oriental rugs. "They are like our own family too, and now what?"
Today those questions have been answered. The Arslanian Brothers oriental carpet cleaning business has emerged from the ashes bigger and better than ever.
Standing in the shiny new facility located at 19499 Miles Road, Ted Arslanian shook his head and said, "I don't want to think of that night. That was the most horrible day of my life.
"Now, I look around our new location and smile. I love what we've been able to accomplish. This place is incredible and our workers are still the best."
The giant carpet washing machine is back in operation. Craftsmen were coaxed out of retirement at the factory in Elkhart, Indiana. All the intricate gears and nozzles were back into place.
Long time employees can't believe the transformation in the last year.
"I couldn't even put into words what that felt like," Chris Erdman said. "I have been here 28 years. The night of that fire, I figured that I'm out of a job. I can't tell you how much this new start means to me and my family."
The immense new carpet drying room cost $225,000 and includes state of the art fan system coupled with a digital humidity control.
Employees are once again able to do the hand stitching to repair the borders of aging oriental rugs.
Arslanian Brothers also jumped into the oriental carpet sales business.
"I can tell you the next day after that horrible fire, the attitude here was forward," Manager Scoot Szach said. "Ted, Armen and Henry led the way with no looking back."
Next year, Arslanian Brothers will celebrate their 50th year in business. Now that everything in the new plant is back to full steam, the family business could serve Cleveland area customers for another 50 years.
Smiling as he looked at the stacks of carpets in the warehouse, Ted Arslanian said, "I was going to retire this year but, I've changed my mind.
"Life is great. Everything has turned around and it sure is a better story this year. Wow!"