Bal Arisi, Theresa McCartin
In the months leading up to the pandemic-fueled shutdown in early 2020, Theresa and Brian McCartin expanded their long-time carpet cleaning business to serve a rapidly growing niche – oriental and area rug cleaning and repair services.
Warwick-based Bal Arisi opened on Jan. 3, 2020. Despite being unable to offer in-home rug pickup and deliveries during its first nine months of operation, the business was booming. Working from home and limited vacation travel made home enhancement a priority. In addition, extra cleaning and sanitizing driven by the pandemic warranted more dye repair services for both carpets and area rugs.
"People were cleaning a lot more with some harsh chemicals like bleach, and we started getting calls asking for dye work on carpet,” Theresa McCartin said. “We began offering that as an in-home service once I felt comfortable being back in people's homes for extended periods.”
Business ownership – especially with all the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic – soon became overwhelming.
Mrs. McCartin took advantage of SCORE Bucks County’s free online webinar programs to help guide Bal Arisi. By early 2022 she had enlisted the help of mentors, Karen Kelly, and Charlie Morris, to put some of the ideas gleaned from the online resources into action.
"SCORE mentorship was a game-changer for me,” she said. “Both of these individuals have helped me to drill down important business metrics and digital metrics. I'm no longer feeling overwhelmed and alone in this venture. I feel like I now have a team behind me that cares about my business success."
Kelly lauded her client’s devotion to the new business, which Theresa co-owns with her husband.
“Theresa is a fabulous and dedicated client,” Kelly said.
Prior to launching Bal Arisi, Theresa worked a full-time job and helped her husband with minor rug repairs for his circa 1989 business, McCartin’s Carpet Cleaning Service. Their new area rug cleaning and repair venture aimed to fill a void in the central Bucks area.
“Oriental rug repair is a fine art that is done by hand,” Theresa McCartin said. “It requires meticulous attention to the rug's woven characteristics as well as fiber identification.”
She honed her repair and fiber dyeing skills with years of apprenticeships and classes, having traveled all over the U.S. to learn from some of the most skilled artisans in the industry who brought their skills from Turkey, Iran, and Armenia.
She found repair work enjoyable and satisfying, and the demand for it was growing just as fervently as the area rug washing service.
By 2018, the couple purchased a separate building to house the equipment needed for this specialized service. The company’s name, Bal Arisi, is a Turkish word for honey bee which symbolizes the essential detailed work necessary to maintain oriental and area rugs.
Amid the pandemic, Bal Arisi also expanded its services to include outdoor furniture cushion cleaning and winter storage.
Adding new services and improving the company’s online experience have been some of the ways Kelly and Morris have served as sounding boards for Mrs. McCartin.
“Karen has been helping me to prioritize and focus on the important elements of running a business,” she said. “That is something that I found hard. I am probably not alone in this struggle; when you are a small business owner you wear a lot of hats. You can get lost in the weeds dealing with the minutia.”
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