By Katie Demeria
FRONT ROYAL -- It started with Tammy Carlyle's desire to help her children with their allergies, and it has grown into a successful business.
Green Clean w/ TLC celebrated its 5th anniversary in July and opened a physical location at 413-C South St. earlier this year -- previously it was run solely out of Carlyle's home.
The company provides cleaning services using only green products, according to Carlyle. She was inspired by her research into both hers and her children's allergies.
"I found out that the things I cleaned with were probably causing more harm than good," she said. "So I turned research into reality."
Now, Carlyle cleans with vinegar and water, baking soda and other environmentally friendly products.
The anniversary does not only mark Carlyle's decision to give her homegrown business a storefront, but it also means she has also gotten out of some of a small business's most difficult years.
When she started Green Clean, the recession was still taking place.
"In everything I read, it said that if you can successfully grow a business during a recession, then you've done a great thing," she said. "And it also splits the businesses that survive within the first five years between 20 and 80 percent -- I guess we're in the 20 percent now."
When she started, she said she was taking a huge risk, but since then it has paid off. The company has seen steady expansion since its inception.
During the first year, Carlyle was the company's sole employee, cleaning residences herself. But her clientele continued to grow, and since then she has hired eight employees, all from the local community.
The company has also expanded into cleaning office spaces and doing post-construction cleaning work. Carlyle said she hopes that the expansion will not end -- she wants to eventually open another store in Winchester.
Right now, the company still largely cleans residential spaces. Most of their clientele are one-time users who do not need reoccurring cleaning. But they also have 90 clients in the area using their services on a regular basis, some weekly or bi-weekly.
In April, Carlyle transitioned into an administrative role and stopped cleaning herself. But she said, if the need is there, she will "be there in my heels, helping my staff."
"I like what I do -- you always have to like what you're doing," she said.
The Front Royal community, she added, has been a huge help in her time building a successful business.
"Everybody I've come across has been great," she said. "They're always ready to lend a helping hand."
Recently Green Clean introduced its new packages, as well, offering special cleaning services to newlyweds, those with newborns and teachers. The offers join the moving out/moving in package they have offered for several years, which is meant to welcome new neighbors into the community.
Each package includes a gift basket, as well, and Carlyle said, while some are relatively new, the moving out/moving in package has been very popular.
"I have enjoyed it," Carlyle said of the growing business. "It's been quite an experience.
To learn more, visit www.greencleantlc.com.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org