Stuart Krawll could have pursued a career in corporate accounting, but instead, he used his business skills to establish what has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most successful central vacuum system dealerships.
After earning his bachelor's degree in business from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University, Stuart began a career in accounting with a Chicago firm that later became Price Waterhouse Coopers. He soon returned to his hometown, where he worked in real estate marketing. He became interested in central vacuum systems and saw a significant business opportunity selling and installing systems.
In 1981, Stuart and his wife, Susan, established Beam of St. Louis. The couple quickly grew their business into one of the most successful central vacuum system installing dealerships in the country. During the past 25 years, Beam of St. Louis has sold an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 central vacuum systems and has earned numerous awards for sales and service excellence including Beam's prestigious Dealer of the Year Award and has twice been named to Beam's Million-Dollar Club.
A long-time member of VDTA, Stuart has consistently sought and shared advice and expertise with fellow VDTA members and was a strong advocate of VDTA training programs. He put much of that knowledge to work in growing his own business to a 14-employee distributorship that trains and supplies a network of 35 subdealers throughout eastern Missouri and central and southern Illinois. He also serves on Beam's Dealer Council.
Unlike many central vacuum dealerships that offer a myriad of other installed products, Beam of St. Louis has kept its focus on central vacuums and has formed strategic partnerships with other companies that supply structured wiring and low-voltage products to assure builders have access to central vacuum systems. Stuart also has played an active role in creating lasting relationships with St. Louis area builders. A 25-year member of the St. Louis Area Homebuilders Association and a fixture on the HBA's Home Show Committee, Stuart has played a key role in making St. Louis' annual home show one of the most successful in the nation. Supported by an aggressive marketing program, Stuart and Susan Krawll also have built a vibrant retrofit business. In fact, thanks to their efforts, St. Louis boasts more existing home central vacuum installations than any city in the U.S.
Stuart has also played an active role in local business and civic activities, having served as Chairman of the Ronald S. Beasley School and as a member of the Development Board of St. Louis Children's Hospital. He is currently on the West County Advisory Board for the Commerce Bank of St. Louis. The father of three grown children and grandfather of three, Stuart also coached youth soccer teams for eight years.
2007 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee