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Triton Networking after FLIBS with Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning

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Triton Networking keeps right on rolling this month a few days after FLIBS with Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning and Universal Marine Center. Join us on the first Wednesday in November (Nov. 6) from 6-8 p.m. at UMC to refresh after a hectic and busy boat show.

Until then, learn a little more about Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning from company founder Shannon Kelleher.

Tell us about your company. What does Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning do?

We clean all types of carpets and rugs from silks to wool, upholstery, drapes, furnishings, leather, suede and, on occasion, teddy bears, shoes and purses — pretty much all fabrics and all

types, mainly on yachts.

We have a dedicated staff to clean exterior cushions. The crew picks them up and brings them to the warehouse for cleaning and then will return them to the yacht. We have no weather issues in the warehouse, and there’s no drips on the teak, so I’d rather take cushions off the yacht to work on them in the warehouse. 

It also gives us more time to do a better job, there we can work on a stain, let it dry and if we have to do it again until it’s right, we have that opportunity. (Occasionally, we do clean them onboard.). We also offer cushion storage with an agreement.

Our cleaning process is specifically tailored to the need of the client and the items we are servicing at that moment. We can steam clean, use a cold-water clean, green clean, dry clean and more.

That’s a lot more than just carpets. 

We also do remediation of water, fire, mold, and indoor air quality. Yachts tend to have leaks just like homes, but even more so with all the water they hold in their tanks. Sometimes, it’s water that’s evident and we go in and do a simple extraction and dry out. Other times, it could be something that needs to be contained and treated. Clients may notice an odor from something that you can’t seem to get rid of, and we come in and address the problem.

Fire can be very catastrophic. We’ve gone in and pulled everything out and also do the ultra clean out where everything from the ceiling to the floor/hatches inside and out gets cleaned and treated for particulate from extinguishers or soot. We are highly experienced in all aspects of indoor air quality and have been doing this for many years with great success.

So who’s Ronnie? 

Ronnie is my dad. He’s 74 and still installing carpet on yachts. He got started in the ‘70s when Mr. Blinkley, the owner of Bradford, asked him to carpet his home. After seeing the quality of his work, he asked my dad if he wanted to install carpet on yachts only. My dad then opened Ronnie’s Custom Carpets. I believe his was the only company at the time to do carpet work solely in the marine industry.

I can remember going to FLIBS in 1976 with my dad and all the boats were docked bow to stern. The biggest yacht there was an 85-foot Burger.

Your ad says “A lifetime of experience”. You aren’t kidding.

I paid my dues working for my dad for more than 20 years. When I was about 6, I would go and pick up carpet scraps while he was cutting it. I got to meet many industry pioneers from that experience whom today I still am great friends with. It’s awesome to know their kids and grandkids and I’ve forged many friendships, all of us growing up in the marine industry together.

I learned at a very young age how to install and clean carpet and fabrics on yachts working with my dad. When I was a teenager, I would take a truck after school or on weekends and clean carpet and upholstery if I wasn’t helping my dad. It’s great to have the satisfaction of seeing everything look so perfectly refreshed immediately after I finished.

I did go my own way and opened a body shop building hot rods for a while, but I still helped on the yachts. This experience of going on my own made me appreciate working in this industry, and I never left again. I opened Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning with my wife, Michelle, and it’s been even better ever since.

Tell us about the rest of your team.

I really can’t say enough about them. We have four techs that go out to service calls and two that tend to cushion work at our warehouse. They are all very honest, dependable and hard working. Most of them have been with us for years, and we look forward to keeping them for many more. They have all passed a very scrutinizing background check and I have the utmost faith in them. They’re a great group of guys and girls and we feel very lucky to have them on our team.

A lot of family-run companies have a hard time finding not only good employees but someone to take over. Are you in that situation? 

We’re always looking for healthy and outgoing people who are honest and don’t mind working hard. It would be a perfect opportunity for a yachtie who wants to go land-based in this industry. It matters that they are trustworthy, ethical and can pass a background check. Also that they are presentable, kind, know how to talk to people, and are on time. The hardest part of running a company to me is having an opportunity for growth but not able to find the right candidates.

When crew have a stain, should they try to treat it or do something until you get there?

Most of the time, it’s best to just blot it up with a clean white towel. If you have to, use a little water or soda water, blot it up and call us. Many times, stains get treated by crew before we get There. This can set the stain and may leave a discoloration or react with the chemicals we use. There’s no reason to pre-treat the stains; we will take care of them for you.

Ronnie’s Custom Carpet Cleaning and Universal Marine Center are our co-hosts for the evening. Join us on Nov. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at the shipyard, 2700 S.W. 25th Terrace (33312), just off State Road 84 tucked between Cable Marine and RPM Diesel for casual networking in a great and friendly location. No need to RSVP; just bring a smile and some business cards. You never know who you’ll meet at Triton Networking.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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