Mr. Gerald Ziegler & Mrs. Barbara Ziegler started cleaning rugs in 1951 in Danbury, Connecticut. For approximately one year, the name of the company was Dun-Rite. It took about a year before one of their clients said to them “Who is Dun-Rite? I don’t know any Dun-Rite.” She told Jerry (Mr. Ziegler) if you’re going to work so hard get rid of that name and put your own name on the business. The Ziegler company has bore the family name for over 65 years now.
Mrs. Ziegler would often tell the story of how she and Jerry took a ride to Hartford Connecticut one day, to look at machinery for washing rugs, with four screaming kids in the car. Jerry purchased the washing equipment that same day. Barbara was a little sick about it, since there were four kids to feed and they didn’t own a building large enough to house the new equipment.
They purchased the building on 12 Bates Place in Danbury, which at the time was truly little more than a barn. Back then, the purchase was a whopping $5500 the cost of some rugs today. After refurbishing the entire building and adding a wash pit large enough to accommodate the industrial rug washing equipment, the machines were delivered and set into place. At that time, it was 1 of only 3 professional rug washing facilities in the entire state!
Jerry would often be off attending rug cleaning courses for days at a time. He mostly attended classes put on by the NIRC – National Institute of Rug Cleaners. Back then, you had to have a real rug cleaning plant to be a member or attend their classes.
Most rug cleaners then were people that did not give out information readily, in fact most rug cleaning firms were family owned and there knowledge were closely guarded secrets.
Education was a priority; Jerry needed to learn a lot of coveted information in a short amount of time. The classes with the NIRC and the people that attended those classes; were all people Jerry became friends with and contacts he could always refer to when needed.
From that point, the Ziegler reputation for their expertise and experience in quality cleaning services grew. Mrs. Ziegler worked the phones and ran the books while raising, at the time, 5 children. Jerry did most of the cleaning and many of the repairs. The two oldest boys, Douglas and Peter, helped out when they could or when Jerry needed them.
Some wall to wall carpet installation was being performed back then, but that was a time when they actually tacked the carpet to the floors. The seams were hand sewn and Jerry employed a couple of women to do the sewing of seams before installations.
The need for carpet edge finishing treatments increased and Ziegler’s responded by offering carpet binding and serging, as well as fringe replacement on Orientals. Ziegler’s performed onsite shampooing of carpets and added furniture cleaning which, was done in-plant. Peter ran the rug washing plant for a time during high school and for a couple of years thereafter, before pursuing another trade.
Mr. Ziegler retired in 1987; Gerrianne the oldest daughter and her husband Gary partnered with Phillip Ziegler the youngest son, passing Ziegler’s onto the next generation. Gerrianne worked the office, performing the scheduling and bookkeeping, while her husband Gary was now in charge of the washing of rugs and the repair and edge finishing department. Phillip ran all the outside on-location in-home or office carpet and upholstery cleaning services.