The Electric Sweeper Service Company (ESSCO) was created in Cleveland, OH, in 1924 when Louis Pearsol split Pearsol Appliance into two separate companies, forming ESSCO to sell vacuum and small appliance parts, and Cleveland Washer Parts to handle the major appliance white goods business.
ESSCO is located in the heart of the vacuum cleaner industry. Kirby, Hoover, Royal (Electro-Hygiene), Filter Queen and GE (Premier) were all manufacturing nearby. Many component suppliers were drawn to the areas as well. ESSCO sold and repaired vacuum cleaners and also supplied parts to vacuum dealers and the fledgling rebuilding industry that was active in Cleveland.
Pearsol hired Earle Mueller to manage the business in 1934. Shortly afterwards, in 1937, the two co-authored a vacuum cleaner service manual. It advised dealers how to repair and rebuild machines and how much to charge for service.
This duo also bought Cleveland Armature to rewind armatures since vacuum manufacturers would not sell to wholesalers. Mueller designed a replacement Electrolux 30 switch, an adaptor to change early Electrolux motors from sleeve to ball bearings. He also designed what was perhaps the first swivel neck rug tool in the industry. Mueller bought the business from Pearsol and the business continued to flourish. To assist in the growth Arnold Erickson, Bill Menke, and Harry Scherzer joined the staff in the mid 1940s. Electric Sweeper used magazine, radio and a new advertising medium, “television” to promote the sale of paper bags in the late 1940s.
Innovations continued and Electric Sweeper’s reputation as a wholesaler grew as this team used new manufacturing processes to make round belts and originate the Kirby, “yellow stripe” and Royal, “blue stripe” belts. Upon Mueller’s death in 1961, the previously named gentlemen became co-owners with Mrs. Mueller.
During the 1980s growth and innovation abated somewhat, but the company still enjoyed an excellent reputation with customer and vendors alike. Much of the credit for keeping ESSCO alive during this period is due to Harry Scherzer. Harry did both sales and purchasing. He also handled the day-to-day activities that maintained ESSCO’s good reputation.
In 1989 Bunnie and Bob Merckle bought the ESSCO. Bob had 16 years of experience at this point in his career, having worked previously for other wholesalers and as the director of customer service for the Kirby Company. Bob and Bunnie began to modernize systems and jump-start the organization by adding more products and increased inventory of existing products to fill the needs of the dealers. Harry Scherzer, a 1997 inductee into the VDTA Hall of Fame, insured a smooth transition to the new owners by continuing his duties as vice president until he retired in 1991. As the company began to transform into the vision that the Merckles had for a customer responsive organization, the need for a first rate catalog became more evident. The management and sales team began to grow, with activity focusing upon completing the catalog.
In October of 1993, after two and a half years of daily effort by the entire sales and managerial staff, the 655-page loose-leaf catalog was published. Explosive growth followed. The newly published catalog being the catalyst of the increase in business. The ESSCO catalog has grown to nearly 1,000 pages. This provides the most useful and current information to keep the independent vacuum dealer informed and well ahead of the pack.
ESSCO outgrew its home of 22 years in downtown Cleveland. In August of 1995, it moved into a new 26,000-square-foot facility on 5.5 wooded acres in Valley View, OH. The move to the new facility essentially completed the modernization process that had begun in 1989.
State-of-the-art computerization and warehousing methods implemented provide their customers with lightning-quick service and a 98 percent fill rate.
ESSCO was recognized in 1998 by the prestigious Weatherhead School of Management as one of the fastest growing companies in Northern Ohio. They continue to be recognized as one the fastest growing wholesalers in the vacuum cleaner industry.
For more information, call toll-free 1-800-321-2664 or log on to www.essco.net.