Clifford was born in Smiths Grove, KY, on November 12, 1947. By working as a child on a dairy farm, he learned the value of hard work and dedication, which helped with his professional career. Clifford started with The Singer Company in 1971. He was hired as an outside salesperson in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and a few years later, he was promoted to store manager in Hopkinsville. In fact, Clifford was so successful in his managerial position that Singer sent him to do business in Lima, Ohio and then in Toledo at one of Singer's largest fabric stores.
After a couple years of frigid weather and unprecedented snowfall, he called Singer's Regional Manager, Jim Pettijohn, and told him he was coming back to Kentucky away from the cold with or without a job. However, it was obvious that Clifford was too valuable to the company, and so he was ultimately promoted to District Sales Manager for Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
By 1984, Clifford was promoted to Regional Sales Manager for those same three states and parts of Mississippi and Alabama, too. He married Phyllis, a dealer from Bowling Green – the same town from which he first embarked on his adventure within the industry – in 1986 and has remained happily hitched ever since.
In 1988, Clifford helped to launch the infamous "Singer Warehouse Sale," which was conducted in his very own region. Feeling ready to retire after all of his accomplishments, Clifford left The Singer Company in 1995 to help Phyllis with her expanding stores in Bowling Green, Clarksville, and Nashville. However, Clifford couldn't stay away, and just two years later he returned to Singer as a consultant and later as the Vice President of Dealer Sales. As Phyllis says, "If Cliff cuts his arm, he bleeds sewing machine oil, not blood!" In 1999, Clifford retired again, and he and Phyllis sold their stores to their employees. And while playing more golf was fine and dandy, Clifford felt a pull once again to rejoin the industry, so in 2006, he and his wife opened the Sewing Machine and Vacuum Outlet. Clifford's passion to keep helping customers and better the industry cannot be beat.
2016 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee