Yesterday I visited The Vacuum Spot, a tiny, local shop at Front and Snyder, owned by the super-nice John Cropley. He fixes all things vacuum related. Even vintage vacuums.

Photo by Lisa Sams

John is a pilot. He has other marketable skills, yet he chooses to drive everyday to South Philly from his home in Langhorne to run a hole-in-the-wall business. He struggles financially to stay open, but it’s his passion; he loves meeting people face to face and connecting, getting to know them. He also believes that vacuums should be fixed and not discarded if possible. He mindfully chose his tiny location because of the parking, the access from all parts of the city, and the low overhead. He likes people and he likes the dying art of vacuum repair, so he carries on, with a big, friendly grin for all who enter his shop.

John’s services are affordable. He’ll tell you the truth (because he has integrity) if it’s more expensive to fix your vacuum than replace it. He represents the small business owner of yesteryear, the butcher, the local grocery store owner, the mailman that your family gave a present to at Xmas-time.

John also represents the local economy.  He represents green living, and not wasting, but in a very down-to-earth, and not showy way. Most importantly, he represents the idea that I live as a business owner – not to manipulate people into buying services or things they don’t need.  We both agree that we love what we do, we educate people about what we offer, and then we let them make their own decisions.  We agree that if we have to lose our integrity trying to sell what we love, than we’d rather not do it.  We’d rather sleep well at night than feel like we did something wrong or dishonorable.

My visit to the local vacuum repair shop renewed not only my vacuum, but my faith in humanity.  Next time your vacuum fails, go see John and tell him I say “Hello.”

– by Kim Fleisher