FAIRFIELD — It was during the recession when one of Gillespie’s Abbey Carpet & Floor’s customers came through the door to talk about a project with Gillespie’s President and General Manager Monte Hoover.
Hoover remembered the customer saying he could have easily put the project off. But because previous work Gillespie’s did for him went so well, he decided to go forward with the project and have Gillespie’s do the work.
“It was so heartwarming to have a client with a project he could have put off, doing it to help you out,” Hoover said.
That kind of relationship with its customers is one reason why the company that started 80 years ago as a dry cleaning business is still around and doing well.
“About 80 percent of our work now comes from repeat customers and referrals,” Hoover said.
Gillespie’s has been family owned and operated in Fairfield since 1934, when Ben and Marcy Gillespie started what was then a dry cleaning and laundry business in their own home. It is now run by the Hoover family, whose members expect that tradition to continue for at least another generation.
The steady expansion of Gillespie’s has seen the company move four times, first out of the Gillespies’ home in 1941 into the newly completed two-story building at the corner of Texas Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, now home to the Daily Republic.
Twenty-two years later, in 1963, the Gillespies moved to 1363 N. Texas St. and expanded their services to offer rug, upholstery and wall-to-wall carpet, as well as drapery cleaning.
Ben and Marcy Gillespie ran the business until 1975, when Russ Hoover and John Hardwick bought the business. Hardwick and Monte Hoover, Russ Hoover’s son, were the only two employees while Russ Hoover served as a financial partner and worked weekends.
The next year, Charlene Hoover signed on as an office manager and then Craig and Steve Hoover started working at the business, bringing the entire family on board.
“We needed to diversify, so we started to do fire and water restoration work, becoming the biggest water and restoration company in the county,” Monte Hoover said of the 1978 expansion.
When the Hoovers encountered some fire and water damage that was too extensive to repair, they added floor covering sales in 1980.
By 1987, the building on North Texas Street had become too small for the growing business and Gillespie’s Carpet Center moved to a larger site on Union Avenue. That same year, the firm also became an Abbey Carpet member.
“After we moved here, we slowly took ourselves out of the fire and water restoration business,” Monte Hoover said.
In 1996, Gillespie’s Abbey Carpet moved to its present 15,000-square-foot home in a custom-designed building at 360 Chadbourne Road. Eight years later in 2004, Russ and Charlene Hoover retired and moved to Chiloguin, Ore.
Gillespie’s has worked hard to become a one-stop shop to take care of all their clients’ needed when it comes to creating home interiors, from offering the services of a design contractors to dedicated, well-trained construction crews. That includes the option customers have to make Gillespie’s serve as the master contractor for an entire project.
“We have a deep passion to help people create beautiful things in their home,” Monte Hoover said of what inspires him. “To be able to see the before and after, to see the smiles on a client’s face is heartwarming.”
Monte Hoover said it is all about adapting to change to ensure the customers get the best products and services, as well as fulfilling the needs of their clients.
“Without our clients, we don’t exist,” Monte Hoover said.
That also goes for ongoing community involvement with groups such as the Boy Scouts and other youth-connected causes in the Solano County area.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.