B & V Vacuums in Jefferson Park closing after decades of service to the community
by BRIAN NAIDIG
The family owned B & V Vacuums at 5615 W. Lawrence Ave. is closing June 1 after serving the Jefferson Park area for all or part of seven decades.
“I’ve been here 40 years, and I’m done,” said store owner Jim Byrne, who took over the store in 1983 from his father Bob, who is the “B” in the store name. His mom Violet is the “V.”
“My dad said buy the inventory if you want the store, and I did,” Byrne said.
Hi father started in the business as a salesman and distributor for Kirby vacuums, eventually opening a store in the 5600 block of North Milwaukee Avenue in the 1960s. He later opened B & V Distributing (now Vacuums) at the Lawrence site.
In the 1970s the Byrne family sold the businesses and moved to Florida, only to return a few years later and and reacquire the Lawrence shop.
The store is one of the last remaining independent vacuum retail and repair shops on the Northwest Side.
Its loyal customer base has been a joy to serve, Byrne said.
“That’s what helped us keep going … a lot of the same people,” Byrne said. “A lot of people say the came to the store with their parent when they were 5. Now they’re in their 30s.”
The 64-year-old Byrne said that competition from Amazon has impacted sales but that he’s not closing the store because business is bad.
“I want to be able to spend time with my kids (and) and the grandkids,” he said, adding that he will have to find ways to keep himself busy in retirement. “I’m not the type of guy who likes to sit around.”