After four decades with Suncoast Vacuum and Appliance, owner Paul Froeschle is handing over the keys to the company.
Froeschle first started with Suncoast Vacuum in 1977 before buying and taking on ownership of the company in 1988, according to employee Robert Cornett.
“I will have some sadness as I say goodbye to the business in which I have spent the past 40 years of my life,” said Froeschle.
“Of course, there were some tough times but what I will remember most are the good feelings I’ve had helping people, and the fun of the workplace camaraderie.”
According to Froeschle, he has been in the vacuum business since he was a teenager. But his high level of expertise was only part of the reason Suncoast Vacuum grew to have so many loyal customers.
Suncoast Vacuum offers hometown service in a way only a small business can and really makes it their goal to develop lasting relationships between customers and employees.
“I will miss the many terrific customers that helped me build the business, I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Froeschle.
“Then there’s the employees. Too many over the years to mention all of their names but I’m still in touch with most of them and consider them among my best friends.”
Cornett, who has worked for Froeschle at Suncoast Vacuum for the past seven years, added: “What I’m going to miss most is definitely going to be Froeschle. And he’s not just going to be missed by us but by the community, as well.”
Outside of Suncoast Vacuum, Paul has been an extremely active member of the community from his leadership role with the Board of Hearing Impaired Persons of Charlotte County to his time on the Charlotte County Community Action Agency Advisory Board.
And because of the strong bond he has with not only the business but the surrounding area, as well, Froeschle says he plans on sticking around for awhile to ensure a smooth transition between himself and the new owner: Chris Lingenfelter.
Lingenfelter has also worked professionally with vacuums and similar appliances since his teenage years and currently owns two other vacuum businesses — one in Bonita Springs and one in Naples.
“It was a perfect fit for both of us. I wanted to sell and Chris wanted another good vacuum store,” Froeschle said.
While it might seem surprising for a company to exist under the same ownership for so long, Julie Mathis, Director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, guesses that it happens more often than people think.
“I think this happens a lot in this community and similar communities with small businesses that are so close knit. Especially in recent years, many owners who have had their companies for decades are starting to retire and looking for viable, trustworthy new owners,” she said.
And Froeschle is confident the business customers they have come to know and love will remain the same — with the added benefit of a larger range of vacuums.
“The new owner will keep the store name the same as it is well recognized with a great reputation. Suncoast Vacuum has been a landmark business in Port Charlotte for over 41 years,” Froeschle said.
“The hometown service will still be there as well as the addition of two or three more lines of quality vacuums.”
Now, Froeschle’s looking forward to enjoying all retirement has to offer with his wife, Joy, and focusing more on his community engagements.
For more information on Suncoast Vacuum and Appliance, visit suncoastvacuum.com.