For 50 years, Bob’s Original Sweeper Shop has been doing a dirty business in Erlanger.
Since 1971, the sweeper shop that Ron Kirkwood started in a former house that sat on a hill overlooking Dixie Highway has served customers from Erlanger, Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.
There have been plenty of changes over the last five decades.
Bob Kirkwood and his wife, Bonnie, eventually took over the business from his father, Ron.
The House has been replaced by a handsome two-story brick building.
The firm expanded and now has three locations; in addition to Erlanger, the company has locations in Cold Spring and in Florence. And a few years ago, the company rebranded with its current name.
But what hasn’t changed is a commitment to service and an offering of products that have kept customers coming in the doors for 50 years.
“The key to being here in Erlanger for 50 years is pretty simple,” said General Manager Jesse Hiers, who has been with the business for 12 years. “It is customer service, which is a lost art. People can go to a big box store, they can find something online that might be cheaper.
“But when customers come here, they know they are going to be greeted with a smile, treated with respect and treated fairly and professionally,” Hiers said. “They know they are going to have support available after the sale. And they trust us. That’s why over generations, people keep coming back.”
Erlanger Mayor Jessica Fette congratulated Bob’s Original Sweeper Shop for reaching its 50-year milestone.
“Erlanger is stronger because of hard-working, family-owned businesses that become part of the fabric of a community,” Mayor Fette said. “I applaud the Kirkwood family and their employees for making and keeping Erlanger the home of their very successful and respected business. If a business is around for half-a-century, they are doing something right, and we are glad they are doing in right here in Erlanger.”
“We love being in Erlanger,” Hiers said. “The mayor and her staff are great. She reached out during the COVID crisis, which we really appreciated. We get a lot of traffic on Dixie Highway, we are centrally located here and we have developed relationships with other local businesses. Matt Grimes just down the street at Colonial Cottage is a customer and friend, so we really enjoy being a part of the Erlanger business community.”
After Ron Kirkwood launched the business in 1971, it grew quickly from selling Kirby vacuums door-to-door to servicing vacuums. Just a year later, eight-year-old Bob Kirkwood started working in the shop by pricing bags, sweeping floors and moving stock.
By 1981, Bob and Bonnie started dating and she began helping out as well. In 1984, Ron knew it was time to expand so he opened a second store in Highland Heights. Today, that store is along U.S. 27 in Cold Spring.
Ron retired in 1998, passing the reigns to Bob and Bonnie. Over the years, their siblings, children, nieces and nephews have worked at the stores, making it a true family business.
The Florence store opened in 1999 and in 2003, the new Erlanger location opened followed by a new store in Florence that launched in 2018 on U.S. 42.
Bob’s Original Sweeper Shop’s products and services include:
- American made vacuums such as Oreck, Riccar and others.
- Central vacuum system installation and repairs.
- Vacuum cleaner repair, including free estimates.
- Vacuum parts and components such as bags, belts and filters.
- Sewing machine repair.
- Infrared heater sales and repairs. repairs
- Hardwood floor cleaning solution and spot cleaners.
So what’s next for Bob’s Original Sweeper Shop?
“God willing,” Hiers said, “another 50 years!”