Salvador “Sam” Battisto
A-1 Vacuum Cleaner Co.
Sunset Vacuum Supply Co.
1928 – 2013
From humble beginnings almost 60 years ago to owning and operating one of the largest retail vacuum stores in the St Paul, MN area to overseeing a parts distribution network based in Minnesota and California serving thousands of dealers west of the Mississippi, Sam knew how to make gold from dirt. Ask almost any dealer about Sam and you’ll likely get a story or two about how they met. Sam’s friendliness and expertise has influenced countless dealers in the industry. Helping others is in Sam’s nature. Even in retirement, Sam is still keeping busy working with anyone needing help with their vacuum needs. To many of us, working in this industry is just a job. To Sam it is his passion. There are few like him.
Circa early 1950’s: After a stint in the army and several jobs in the automotive field, Sam was looking for a better way to support his young and growing family so he answered an ad in the paper to be a “product demonstrator.” That product happened to be a Hoover vacuum cleaner back in the days when Hoovers were sold door-to-door for $59.95. From there he was promoted through the ranks to District manager for Hoover.
His entrepreneurial spirit pushed him from working for someone to working for himself. Sam started out in his basement and worked his way to owning and operating one of the largest independent retail vacuum stores in the St Paul, MN area. A business large enough that other dealers came to Sam for their repair parts regularly. The parts business became Midamerica Vacuum Supply Co. in the 70’s and with help from his wife Ruth, their 5 kids and the many loyal employees over the years, grew into one of the largest regional parts distributors in the area all while maintaining the original retail store which thrives even today.
When Sam & Ruth decided to move to California in 1984, he opened Sunset Vacuum Supply Co. which also grew to be one of the largest regional distributors in that area. As the business evolved Sam and Ruth worked with others in the industry to create AVAC Corporation combining the purchasing strength and efficiency of four warehouse operations to offer vacuum dealers thousands of quality products at competitive prices. Sam and Ruth retired in 2009 but their commitment and dedication to the industry will be felt and remembered for many years to come.