Supporting Our Families – A Central Vacuum Stores Priority

When Life Hands You Life

Faith & Claire – granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Central Vacuum Stores’ founder, Chris Ambrose.

Over the years, we’ve been very choosy in whom we employ. It’s more than filling a vacancy – we value qualities like integrity, perseverance, kindness, and loyalty. So it’s no wonder once we find a team member we love, we aim to keep them. Inevitably life happens and, as a small business, you either roll with the changes or compromise on your priorities. We opt for the former.

Like Walking A Tightrope

_K3A0850There’s a lot of conversation these days about the best way to balance work and family. Unfortunately, we see most of the talk happening over the dinner table and not around the conference table. Corporations tend to think it’s up to the employee to figure things out at home – when a little effort on their part could bring about a solution for both parties.

Since opening our doors in 1948, Central Vacuum Stores has been family centered. Literally. Chris and Sally Ambrose built their life around the store, raising their children and a business simultaneously. When their oldest son, Roger, took over, he and his wife grew their kids alongside the store and website, and in the process, they made it a priority to support their employees in the same way.

Work With Moms

With modern technology, there’s little our support and web associates can’t do from home.

Moms are often dealt a tough hand – being asked to do it all. So it’s no surprise the fastest route to support a family is to support a mom. At Central Vacuum Stores, we’ve made a habit of hiring and aiding mothers, collaborating to find the best solution to balance work and kids, and sticking with them through the ups and downs of life.

It doesn’t take much to see a big impact – a little flexibility, an investment in some technology, and a commitment to cultivating a healthy employer/employee relationship. The result? A team of employees who are champions at multitasking, able to work odd hours, and loyal beyond measure. It’s the definition of a “win/win.”

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll be highlighting some of our incredible working moms and thanking them for all they do, both in the office and at home.

Renee Ambrose

Ambrose Family
Roger and Renee Ambrose photographed with their five children

When Renee married Roger Ambrose, she was a young girl working at Central Vacuum Stores while taking college courses. When their first child came along, Renee was able to work at home assisting the business while also investing time in her family. Things grew a little busier as the Ambroses went on to add five more children, whom Renee chose to homeschool. All the while, she continued to work as her time allowed.

When the two youngest boys became teens, Renee decided it was time to finish her own education. She got a degree in E-Business to help build Central Vacuum Stores’ internet presence (an incredibly visionary decision) and dove head-on into the management and growth of the store.

“Roger and I are pretty passionate about moms being available for their kids, even if they are working. So supporting our mom employees who have kids at home is just a natural extension of our own values..” – Renee

Dawn Ambrose Long

The Ambrose’s oldest daughter grew up working in the store helping customers, but it wasn’t long before she was married with four children of her own. Dawn chose to homeschool her brood and took the necessary time to step back from her career and focus on her family. All the while, she still assisted the store and, eventually, made her way back to a part-time employee as her children grew. The flexibility allowed her to stay up-to-date with the world of business and also raise four fabulous kids, the oldest of whom just left for the US Army.

“Guess it just shows what a busy mom I am. Can’t get a picture with all my kids in it!” -Dawn

Faith Ambrose Elliott

_K3A0854 (1).jpg
Faith with her oldest, Jackson

The Ambrose’s youngest daughter also worked in the store as a teen and throughout college. After receiving a degree in Engineering and spending time working with a development firm, she found her way back to the family business. When her two children came along, it was time to reassess how she was going to manage her work and family.

Now Faith mostly works from home while juggling her toddler, four-year-old, and laptop. It takes a lot of nights and weekends to meet her duties, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Maris Lee

Maris and the girls.JPG

“I wanted to work part time from home so I would still be available for the girls. Renee hired me when my youngest daughter, Maddy, started kindergarten. That was 13 years ago. My job with Central Vacuum has given me so much flexibility- I was able to drive carpool, attend field trips and volunteer at their schools throughout the years. Now Megan has graduated from college and Maddy just finished her freshman year. I have greatly appreciated how my job has fit into my life not vice-versa.” -Maris

Kim Handelsman

IMG_8389Kim began her employment with Central Vacuum Stores as a single gal in the early 1990’s. Her time here was sporadic, as she was also juggling years away on the missionary field in Japan. By the early 2000’s, Kim was juggling new responsibilities – that of wife and mother.

She found her way back to Central Vac where the flexibility of working from home allowed her to raise her small children. When Kim chose to homeschool her kids, she pushed the pause button on her career and brought their education to the forefront. Sure enough, those kids turned into teenagers and are (just slightly) less demanding. Last year, Kim decided she was ready to get back into the workforce and the Ambroses were thrilled to welcome her, proving that flexible employers make for loyal employees.

Bonnie Clark-Enguita

_K3A0883 (1)When Bonnie first came on with Central Vacuum Stores she was kid-free and known for her early-morning hours in the office. Just a short year later, her first son was born and she and Renee had to talk about how to manage her new responsibilities. With the set-up of a laptop and a solid internet connection, there wasn’t much she couldn’t accomplish at home. The next year, when her daughter was born, Bonnie was moved to part-time hours to better balance two babies and her work. Through it all, a little flexibility from both parties has led to a pretty seamless transition from “ever-ready employee” to “working mom of two.”

“Nap time + bed time = Mama’s work time.” – Bonnie

Mary Anderson


Mary has worked for Central Vacuum for 12 years and her degree in engineering makes her one of our go-to’s for technical support. As the years developed, Mary and her husband sought to spend more time with their family and sweet grandson up north and decided to split their year between Florida and New York. The Ambroses agreed that time was just too precious and set Mary up with a laptop and some basic tech that would allow her to work from anywhere.

Now Mary doesn’t miss a thing, be it work related or family related. She is able to answer customer inquiries and provide sales and technical support while still soaking up time as a grandparent. We sure miss her around the office for the months she’s gone, but we love seeing the joy she comes home with after time well spent with loved ones.

Pam Hendry

IMG_1007Pam worked at Central Vacuum Stores for several years before her first grandchild arrived. Then came another…and another…and before she knew it, her daughter was a busy mom of 3 under five. Pam realized now was the time to step back from work and step deeper into the role of grandma. When she approached Renee and Roger about potentially going part-time so she could help out more with her grandkids, it was met with their full support. Good thing, too, because Pam’s son just welcomed a daughter, making her a grandma of 4!

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