Skip to main content

Original text

Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
Stacey working
Small Business; Big Hearts

Society Cleaners, LLC, Stacey K Burger

Title / Role: Society Cleaners, LLC
Location: South Beloit, Illinois
Formed in: 1937
What do you do?

Society Carpet Cleaners is a fourth-generation carpet, tile, and upholstery cleaning business. We also recently have branched out into house cleaning services.

What inspired you to start your business?

I inherited the business because of the financial state of the business, and I basically dismantled the business and started over. I must say that my father was my hero my whole life. I was relieved to know at least that he would never know the state of the business he worked so hard for. My mission became very clear, that I needed to rebuild and restore the business on behalf of my family. That was my original goal, however, much like life, that goal changed. The business that I rescued really rescued me.

What's special about your business?

My business was started in 1937 as a clothing dry cleaner by my grandparents. In 1973 my father closed the dry cleaners and began carpet cleaning. I am one of four boys, yet I inherited the business in 2017. My father passed away in 2010, and my stepmother in 2017. I was incredibly optimistic about becoming a new owner but without any experience. What I didn't know was that the day after my stepmother passed the business was on the verge of bankruptcy.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

I can remember having virtually one dollar, broken down equipment, and employees who were not educated enough to do their jobs.  But in a struggling company that gave me all the direction I needed. Up, up is all the direction I needed. The highest point of my business has been being awarded a certificate that states we are the recipients of the title "Best Professional Cleaning Service" in our area. In the three long years, I have owned this company, I have felt defeated, and scared, but also optimistic that with every passing day, we are making progress. We are now, according to Google, a 5-star company that is completely rebuilt and refurbished.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

I knew that if I wanted the best for this company I needed insight and experience that I didn't have. I am the sole owner and in the past, my company has always been owned by two people. I also know that in the early '40s, the business was in a financially catastrophic state, and I was not going to let it go through that a third time.

How SCORE helped.

It wouldn't have been possible without my Score mentors. I am very good at running day-to-day operations but understanding my numbers is something that was never done even with my parents as owners. I wanted to be able to move beyond this state and they have continuously helped me with large decisions I was scared to do without consulting anyone and secondly preparing for our future once we moved beyond a recovery stage.

What's great about my mentor?

First of all, they are the calming effect I need when I show up to a meeting tired and stressed. They always have a story, advice, and options for me to think over. Whether they know it or not they are extreme lifesavers and probably the reason I never give up. They are frank, and upfront, and always remind me of the progress I have made. I know that I am not an accountant, but I have two lifesavers out there, not only rooting me on but opening up other options I may not have thought of due to my inexperience. I cannot say enough about my Score mentors or this program. I am extremely grateful!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

I grew up as a small business kid, so small business is and will always be in my heart. The best that I can say is to follow your heart, do it with good intentions, know your worth, and pick your army to support you. Small business is not a walk in the park but nothing worthwhile is. Know that there will be good days when you feel invincible, and bad days that make you question every decision you ever made. Most of all, NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

That this business will be as successful as the effort I put into it. I'm beginning to see that running a business is far from easy, but it is rewarding. Business for me is a challenge.  I am determined to succeed even if some days I feel it's got the best of me. There will be another day that will make me feel as if I have climbed Mount Everest!

Additional media
carpet in a room
My mentors
Headshot of Alan Vierthaler
Alan Vierthaler

I can help you with: accounting; banking; business operations, plans, strategies; construction...

Read full bio
Headshot of Tom Bradley
Tom F. Bradley

I can help you start or grow your business. I have 40 years of experience in finance, accounting...

Read full bio
5262 Anton Drive
Madison, WI 53719
(608) 535-4978

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

Chat generously provided by:LiveChat

In partnership with
Jump back to top