When we think back through our 20-year history we are amazed at the progress and growth of the industry. We marvel how the US Green Building Council and LEED, along with the Marble Institute of America (MIA) have become guideposts in our effort to be the most environmentally friendly home and professional marble, granite, terrazzo and limestone cleaning and restoration subcontractor in Chicagoland. We are humbled as we reflect on the thousands of successful cleanings, restorations, and polishing jobs we have performed for our clients of homeowners, and commercial real estate owners and developers.
While we reflect, it is amusing to remember some of our more uncommon jobs. In one case where we patched in a few lines of new grout next to very weathered existing grout, our customer made a successful suggestion we’d never thought of before, in order to make the new grout match the old: rub some dirt in it! Naturally, homes and business that hire us expect dirt will be removed rather than added to their floor, but in this was a unique case. Another job we found interesting and uncommon at the time, was a historic office building lobby with decades and decades of cigar and cigarette smoke residue, along with old fashioned dirt stuck to the walls. We learned some pretty intriguing principles of physics through this challenge. What happens in lobbies, especially the hot, humid kind Chicago had plenty of the better part of the 20th, is the particles floating in the air eventually rise and travel outward. The air flow patterns combined with the electric charge the particles have, cause the particles to transfer and stick to the walls. What this meant was the walls of this lobby (which was a haven for cigar-smoking businessmen), which used to be white marble, were brown. Some creative grinding, chemical applications, and poultice applications returned the walls back to their original white glory.
Turning to the present challenges of the recession, we know our clients have been struggling to fund maintenance of their floors and lobbies, or new building projects. The TARP and ARRA programs are continuing, and we are actively trying to learn how these programs affect our business and our clients. It’s a crash course for sure, but we’ve found some websites to be very useful. For an overview, the Federal Government has a website run by the Recovery Board that tells where the recovery money is going, and what it is being used for. Locally in Illinois, there is the same site. And the Financial Stability Oversight Board is also monitoring the TARP and other programs. Pouring over these has returned data that will no doubt help us and our clients understand all the options and trends that are out there assisting businesses and ultimately us all.
When we think of the present challenges and the variety of small, medium, and big jobs we’ve encountered throughout the years, our work fundamentally remains focused on the same principles of client education, dedication to the environment, and excellent marble, granite, limestone, terrazzo, and other stone restoration, cleaning, and polishing. That’s our ‘biggest’ job!