Louis Clark, founder of Louis Clark Wholesale Vacuum Parts, was a pioneer in the wholesale vacuum parts business. He began one of the first, and most successful parts distributorships in the western United States. That he was held in the highest esteem by his peers in the industry is a lasting tribute.
Louis was born in Russia in 1898. At the age of three, his family came to the United States, settling in St. Louis. It was there he began his career in the vacuum industry working for the Hoover Company in the early 1920’s. After several years with Hoover, Louis moved to Texas and began working for Eureka. While with Eureka, Louis relocated to the San Francisco area.
As World War II began, Louis had a brief partnership with Herb Blakeman in a parts distributorship. Due to a wartime shortage of parts, their partnership did not last. During the war years, Louis operated the vacuum cleaner concession at the Broadway Department Store in Los Angeles and had his own small parts distributorship. His wife Hilda sold vacuums in the store, mostly rebuilt Hoovers, while Louis ran the parts business.
After the war, Louis formed a partnership with his sons-in-law Milton Rubin and Archie Mitchell, and nephew Stuart Brandel to buy out the H.G. Rising Company, a local vacuum parts supplier. Through the partners’ hard work and Louis’ experience and leadership, the company thrived. Louis Clark Wholesale Vacuum Parts grew steadily and was doing so well that in 1969 they opened a branch office in San Francisco.
Louis retired in 1970 but remained active in the business, serving as a consultant and advisor. In 1972, Louis and his partners sold the business to Genoa Industries, which later became GENVAC.
Louis was an extremely well read, intelligent man. He was looked to for his leadership and guidance, not only by his partners, but also by the many dealers who sought out his knowledge and advice. Louis knew everyone in the business and was always willing to help the independent dealer. He helped small dealers just as much as the big ones because he knew they might be big one day too. With his help, many little dealers became big ones.
One of the nicest, most well respected individuals in the industry, Louis Clark is remembered as much for the help and advice he gave to others, as he is for the pioneering business he founded.
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee