Cedar Lake business offers residential maintenance, cleanup
By Sharon Porta
Times Correspondent | Sunday, April 26, 2009 | (No comments posted.)
While the housing crisis has hurt many businesses, Kleen Sweep is not among them. After many years of handling maintenance and cleanup of commercial businesses, Thomas Lesh has expanded his business to include residential cleanup.
"For years, we have taken care of businesses, handle graffiti, power wash and repaint. And when a business moves out, we go in and clean it up," said Paula Reno, the company's CFO. "So about six months ago, we just decided to partner with investors and banks that are foreclosing on properties to offer the service residentially. Investors buy the home as is and we go in and clean it up."
The condition of the homes varies, but Reno said the previous owners always leave something behind.
"Nine out of 10 times there are things there that need removing," Lesh said. "We take a truck, load it up, bring it back here to sort and salvage."
Because the company is not in the resale business, they have been making donations to families that have lost items, victims of floods and fire and the Salvation Army.
"We don't really want to sell the items. We make our money doing cleanup," Lesh said. "We have a huge building and thought that instead of throwing it away, we would find people who need it. We are getting all kinds of things that people need -- especially now in these hard times."
Crews move into the homes and handle everything from painting and plumbing to general maintenance. Services include cleanup of the property, removing old furniture or garbage, pressure washing when needed and hiring professionals to repair dry wall, carpentry and landscaping.
"Some of the houses are in pretty bad shape and some are not," Lesh said. "But this end of the business has been pretty good."
Kleen Sweep even has a sister company, Astro Realty, to handle the sale of the homes once they are in good shape.
"We still offer all of our commercial services, like parking lot sweeping, snow removal, lawn care and more, "Reno said. "And with this, we're really able to help people who are losing or who have lost their homes."
Location: 13501 Morse St., Cedar Lake
Phone: (219) 374-4296
Owner: Thomas Lesh
When opened: 1985
Number of employees: 10
Type of business: Parking lot sweeping, snow removal, lawn care, residential and commercial clean-up
Web site: www.kleensweep2000.com