ICS 50th: Tony Legenstein
Tony Legenstein is a 44-year veteran of the cleaning/restoration industry and president of Certified Carpet (Lancaster, PA).
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?
From 1970 through 2007 our business never skipped a beat – 3-6% growth was common every year. In 2008, our business started to tighten up. In early 2009, consumer spending in our business slowed down tremendously.
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?
One thing that was evident was the change from wall-to-wall carpet being throughout the house to more and more hard surfaces being introduced. We saw basically the entire first floor except for maybe one room be taken over by surface flooring. Another milestone, in my opinion, was the clutch drive system carpet cleaning equipment, which is still prevalent today. As far as great people, anyone who was a past president of what used to be called “ASCR” played a significant role in our industry.
What are some of your fondest memories of being involved in the industry in years past?
As memories are concerned, I would defer that to my father, Walt Legenstein – he and my mother Frannie looked forward to the conventions every year. The friendships that came about from the industry was and still are deeply respected. Not only did they enjoy every minute spend with these friends at conventions, those friendships helped our business grow over the years. That’s where the learning came from.
Moving forward, what do you see in store for the cleaning/restoration industry’s future?
For the future, who knows? Wall-to-wall cleaning has declined for us slightly each year for 10 years. Oriental rug cleaning has continued to rise – this is an area that will continue to grow. We were not trained to quit, thankfully we are diversified and we will continue to work with an open mind.