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March 3, 2013
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Meet Your Merchant: Carpet Pro still makes time for family

More than a decade ago, Brian O’Looney found himself working long hours as a car salesman. There were many evenings when he missed dinner with his family. A good friend — who owned a carpet cleaning business — would occasionally call him during the day.

“I’d ask him, ‘What are you up to?’ and he’d tell me he was coaching his son’s baseball team,” said O’Looney. “A couple of days later, I’d ask, ‘What are you doing now?’ and he’d say, ‘Fishing.’ I knew it was time for a change.”

Eager for a flexible schedule and more time with his family, O’Looney decided to alter his course. He enrolled in school in Sacramento and got his certification in carpet cleaning from The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, in Sacramento.

“I created a company logo on my computer, invested in state-of-the-art equipment, bought a van and parked it in my driveway,” he said. “All I needed was customers.”

As it turns out, it didn’t take long. Now in its 10th year, Carpet Pro has been doing brisk business in Grass Valley, Nevada City and Penn Valley since O’Looney and his wife, Patty, launched the business in 2003. In 2012, Carpet Pro had the distinction of being voted “Best Of” Nevada County in a readers poll conducted by The Union. The company now boasts two offices, one in Penn Valley, the other in Nevada City.

“When I first started the business, my goal was to concentrate on indoor air quality,” said O’Looney. “For example, as specialists, we clean air ducts, upholstery and carpets  — they tend to be the main indoor contaminants.”

With Patty serving as office manager and master scheduler, Carpet Pro has since branched out to take on a multitude of cleaning jobs, including tile and grout cleaning, such as barbecues, tubs, showers, entry-ways, patios and kitchens. They’re also known for cleaning cars, boats and RVs. With as many as 10 jobs a day on the calendar, the O’Looneys have hired technician Ryan Stanley — who is also IICRC certified — to help with jobs both residential and commercial.

“We have contracts with most of the property management companies in the area,” said O’Looney. “We also clean a lot of doctors’ and dentists’ offices.”

Due to the economic downturn, business has actually picked up for Carpet Pro, said Patty, because more people are opting to get their carpets thoroughly cleaned rather than replacing them.

“All of our equipment is the newest in the county, which means they have more suction and more power, so rugs can dry in four to six hours, not two to three days,” said O’Looney. “Plus we service our machines every 100 hours. We steam clean, not dry clean. Rugs are clean like they’ve been run through the laundry so they aren’t left with a residue. We also offer a green option, where we use plant-based detergents. The dirt is pulled out of the carpet and into the machine. The process leaves carpets soft, fluffy and smelling good.”

With a 200-foot hose hooked up to their state-of-the-art van, Stanley and O’Looney say they’ve yet to run out of hose, even with big commercial jobs or a 10,000-square-foot house.

Despite a busy schedule, the O’Looneys have stuck to their original plan — to make family time a regular part of their day. Brian coaches basketball and baseball teams for his children, David, 11, and Kaitlyn, 7. Oldest daughter Ashley, 19, is now off at California State University, Chico. Stanley, a recent graduate of CSU, Sacramento, is also busy at home with a 10-month-old girl and a baby due in July.

A key part of Carpet Pro’s mission has always been community involvement, such as helping to fund golf tournaments and sponsor youth sports teams, including Little League.

“It’s rewarding to have started a company from scratch and see it grow year after year,” said O’Looney. “But the best part is when people call just to compliment us on a job well done.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at or call 530-477-4203.

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The Union Updated Mar 4, 2013 02:59PM Published Mar 5, 2013 12:15PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.