ICS Magazine

ICS 50th: Karl Heinrich

February 4, 2013

Karl Heinrich is a 37-year veteran of the industry.

How would you best sum up the last 50 years (or the time that you’ve been a part) of the carpet cleaning/restoration industry?

The industry has changed here in Chicago in several ways and times through the last 50 years

In the 60’s, area rugs were dormant and wall-to-wall was rotary shampoo. Then in the 70’s steam cleaning was introduced and people started covering their wood floors and there was more wall-to-wall cleaning needed.

In the late 70’s the truckmount was born and things were moving faster and more productive. The 80’s and 90’s stayed status quo. The late 90’s people started removing wall-to-wall carpet and finishing the wood floors and going back to area rugs again. The prices started in the 50’s around 10 cents per square foot, now its $4 per square foot for implant rugs.

In your opinion, what have been some of the most significant events and milestones to impact the industry over the past 50 years? What about some of the most significant people?

Robert Moore from Moore Time Savings Equipment was a leader in our industry. He built rug plants all over the country and (was instrumental in) building the rug cleaning business. Cecil Treadway ran Boushelle Rug Co. - which I now have owned for the last 22 years - and started major ad campaigns on TV and radio here in Chicago in the late 40’s and made customers aware that their rugs need cleaning. The industry took off. There was at one time over 40 rug plants just in Chicago. Just in the last few years Tom Monahan from Centrum Force has made a huge impact to bring awareness to the industry. 

What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?

The annual Christmas party was always a great time and we always had some of the best entertainment. I’ve been involved in the CRCII Carpet and Rug Cleaning Institute of Illinois since I was 16 years old, became the youngest president at age 22 and it taught me a lot. It was great growing up with some of the best minds in the rug cleaning business and that’s how I knew all the owners in years to come. 

Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?

In my opinion, there will always be a need for rug and fine tapestries cleaning and I’m ready for the future training family to be the next generation and having the best plant possible.