Jerry and Ruth Keller admit they didn’t know much about the janitorial and carpet cleaning business when they got into it. But they knew how to treat customers.
They bought what’s now Shining Enterprises back in 1991. Since then, the company has grown to 40 commercial clients and eight employees. They provide commercial janitorial services, as well as carpet cleaning for both residential and business customers.
“We’ve tried to be attentive to our clients, we try to keep them very happy,” Ruth said. “If they call, they get their question answered immediately.”
Shining Enterprises also looks to give back to the community. Jerry is an ambassador and board member for the Redmond Chamber of Commerce. He was named the ambassador of the decade in 2012.
“Years ago, I had a banker tell me, ‘You need to support the community that supports you,’” Jerry said. “That really stuck in my mind that you need to give back.”
The company also works on networking with other businesses.
“You help us, we help you, you’re here for us, we’re here for you,” Ruth said. “That’s been a big part of our business growth. If you’re involved in the community, you definitely want a good name in the community.”
The Kellers came to the cleaning business after looking for a change from their jobs — Jerry, who has a business degree, was an electronics technician and Ruth edited a magazine. They talked to a business broker who said a janitorial business was available. They were initially skeptical but decided to give it a try the third time the broker asked them about it. This time, they were shown how the company would provide immediate income for their growing family.
“When we looked at the numbers, it provided everything we really needed,” Jerry said.
The man they bought the company from agreed to work with the Kellers for a couple months to help teach them tasks like bookkeeping, which was done by hand at the time.
The Kellers kept the original name, The Scrub Gals, for a couple years before changing it.
“We had some clients who had some problems with that name,” Jerry said.
They first year or so was difficult for the Kellers, who worked nearly every day. But they got some advice from people who have been successful elsewhere in the Northwest and started taking Sundays and Mondays off.
“That solved a lot of problems,” Ruth said.
Since then, the business has run smoothly, save for a few crime scenes they’ve had to clean up.
The Kellers have eight part-time employees, but Jerry still does most of the carpet cleaning and some janitorial work himself. Ruth handles office work.
Jerry said Ruth’s father, who used to work for them, gave him some good advice that helps keep their clients satisfied.
“It seems to me your standard needs to be a little more than your client expects,” he said. “That’s a pretty good philosophy for life in general.”
The cleaning business is a surprisingly good one to raise a family in, Ruth said.
“All of our kids have worked in the business, they have a really good work ethic,” she said. “You kind of make your own hours. If one of our kids has a soccer game or a play, we just work around it.”
As committed Christians, the Kellers say they represent three parties when they are working — themselves, Shining Enterprises and Jesus Christ. They say that means they will perform quality work with integrity.
“We serve our clients in the way Christ came to serve, and we want to emulate him,” Ruth said.
Visit shiningenterprises.com for more information.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org