Steamatic grows, adapts with time
Steamatic of Hot Springs originally started out as Razorback Carpet Cleaning before purchasing the franchise in 2001, Misty Poole, who co-owns the business alongside her husband, Richard, said.
Purchasing the franchise gave the business the opportunity to provide more services than just carpet cleaning, including fire and water damage restoration, air duct cleaning, and tile and grout cleaning.
Poole’s father started the business in 1992 while she was still in high school, she said.
“My dad owned Razorback Vacuum, and he had a lot of customers that would come in wanting to know if he could recommend a good carpet cleaning service, and there really wasn’t a good option in Hot Springs,” she said. “So, he decided to add that to his services, and he and my mom actually started doing that.”
Although carpet is a thing of the past for many modern homes, Steamatic has evolved to include tile and grout cleaning, as well as area rugs, adding a rug cleaning facility in which the company can clean fine rugs as well as rugs affected by pets, she said in an email to The Sentinel-Record.
“We’ve had to add on these services over time, as a new type of flooring becomes popular,” she said. “We still do a ton of carpet cleaning. … Even if they don’t have carpet, they’re gonna have some sort of upholstered furniture that needs to be cleaned. It’s like with everything else. You just have to monitor the industry and adapt to change.”
Before joining the family business, Poole attended college at Henderson State University, obtaining a degree in psychology, she said. However, she was
making more money as a manager for a shoe store and decided to stay there.
After she and her husband had their first child in 2000, it led to both of them working for Steamatic.
“I didn’t really wanna put him in day care, and so my dad said, ‘Why don’t you bring him down to the office that way we’ll have him with us all the time?’” she said. “So, it was my husband, my father, myself and a brand new baby down here in 2000.”
The couple then had their second child about five years later, giving them the “privilege of 10 years of having children here at the office with us,” Poole said.
“That helped contribute to the family environment also because, you know, we are family owned and operated, but we do put a lot of emphasis on family with our employees,” she said. “And it would be nothing to come through and see one of the employees rocking a baby that, you know, was fussy while I was on the phone or changing a diaper, playing around, playing ball in the warehouse, things like that. So, they really seem to enjoy that, having a kid here.”
When she originally started at Steamatic in 2000, Poole had never worked in an office setting, barely knowing how to type, she said.
“My background basically was part-time jobs in college and then, you know, managing the shoe store,” she said. “So, it took a little bit of adjustment. … I had to do a lot of self-teaching as I progressed down here, and yeah. So, I had to just figure out a whole lot of everything, and I’ve worn just about every hat that there is down here.”
Poole is a certified carpet cleaner as well as a certified air duct cleaner, she said.
“I know that’s kinda shocking to most people, but I have to know what we’re doing here,” she said. “I’ve gone out on water damages in the middle of the night, I’ve done fire damage cleanups, mold remediation, I’ve done a little bit of everything that we do here except sewer backups. I have to draw the line on that one.”
Poole’s father now travels to the business’s location in Little Rock a few times a week, she said.
Her parents are “in their 70s now, and they need to travel and enjoy life because they can now,” she said. “I was raised with a really strong work ethic and so was my husband. We get it from our parents, and so it’s gonna be hard when he does retire, but it’ll be well deserved.”
Poole runs the residential and commercial services, including carpet cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, air duct cleaning, dryer vent cleaning and upholstery cleaning, while her husband runs the restoration side, water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, structure cleaning and mold remediation, she said.
“I really like where we are right now, but I would like to expand to maybe a few other little areas,” she said.
“A lot of small towns around us don’t have the ability to just call and get next day service or same day service. … I really would like to be able to be of service to the people in the smaller towns that don’t have the ability to just pick up the phone and get us there, you know, right away when they need something.”