MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- George Arco of Mount Kisco learned the family business from the ground up, in a figurative and literal sense.
- Who : George Arco, President, Arco Cleaning Maintenance Company
- What : Celebrating 70 years in business
- More info : http://www.arcocleaning.com/
Arco, president of Arco Cleaning Maintenance Co., took over day-to-day operations of the company in the early 1980s. His father, Guerino “George” Arco, started the business in 1946 and his son worked after school and on weekends when he was a teenager. “I used to ride around on the floor waxing machines,’’ George said. “I think it was more babysitting than anything. But I was learning the trade, sweeping floors, emptying trash. It was a good experience, learning from the ground up.”
After returning from World War II, Guerino worked at a General Motors facility in Tarrytown. He enjoyed bowling, and his wife, Jean, encouraged him to earn extra income to fund his hobby. “He did some floor waxing to have some extra money for bowling,’’ George said. “He turned it into a thriving business. He quit GM and started George Arco Waxing Service. That’s how it got started.”
George Jr. attended college at Pace University, but his plan all along was to join the family business. “While I was in college, I thought there was a lot of potential in my father’s business,’’ Arco said. “I was always inclined to work with my father. I enjoyed that. I never wanted to work anywhere else.”
The business changed over time. It started out primarily in Mount Kisco with mostly commercial clients. Now the business serves commercial and residential clients, and its reach extends to Westchester and Putnam counties.
Arco has also expanded the business’ services significantly from the his father’s floor waxing. Arco is now a full-service cleaning business.
“In the 1980s, we had about 40 employees and we decided to make a push for more commercial office cleaning,’’ Arco said. “We were doing a lot of commercial and residential cleaning. Now we’re about 80 percent commercial. We have 17 vehicles and 125 employees. We’ve grown a lot in that time.”
Arco has faced challenges in building his business. Finding reliable employees has sometimes been hard, but some of them had stayed on for 20-30 years. “There’s an employee, Joe Amodio, who has been with us 62 years,’’ Arco said. “He’s 80, and he’s been loyal to us, so we’ve been loyal to them. We want everybody to do well.”
While a lot has changed for the industry in 70 years, Arco said the emphasis on service has remained consistent. “Running a service business, it’s important to be a man of your word,’’ Arco said. “You have to do what you say you’re going to do. Mount Kisco has been good for our family business. A lot of people helped my father, people like Larry Abel at Abel’s Department Store and Don Ford at Crane’s Furniture. We’ve always had great community support.”
Arco also serves in the community with the Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce, where he is on the Board of Directors, and with the Mount Kisco Fire Department and Mount Kisco Beautification Committee.
“There’s a feeling of self-accomplishment,’’ Arco said. “To build a family-owned business that holds my name is special. It’s nice when you hear people ask about cleaning services, and people say ‘Oh, you gotta go with Arco.’ I’m proud to say we have some third generation customers. I try my best to protect our reputation in everything we do. That’s very important to me, and the employees all know how important it is.”
For more information, click here to visit the Arco Cleaning Maintenance Company website.
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