Andrée Bauer co-owns Russell’s Cleaning Services with her parents, Richard and Carole Bauer, and her brother, Eric Bauer. Her maternal grandfather, Russell Cuoco, founded Russell’s in the 1930s. Cuoco began washing clothes in his mother’s backyard, then delivered them to customers on his bicycle. Once the business grew, he moved into a store and began working full time.
“Over the years it has grown and diversified into cleaning just about anything that can be cleaned,” says Andrée Bauer.
Russell’s offers a personal touch and high-quality service. “Our business mostly comes from word-of-mouth and our reputation. Many customers come in and say they grew up with Russell’s, or their grandmother used Russell’s,” says Bauer.
What services does Russell’s provide?
Due to the damage our Mid-City store received during Hurricane Katrina, we moved the business to our warehouse in Metairie. We are now concentrating more on specialty items such as gowns (including beaded), formalwear, leather and suede—including purses, clothing and gloves. We clean bedspreads, down comforters, bed pillows, drapes, shades and cornice boards, as well as rugs, wall-to-wall carpet and upholstery. We are also doing wholesale work for other cleaning establishments that have had problems since the hurricane.
What tips do you have for people with small children and pets in terms of keeping things clean?
Buy washable or W or B coded fabrics—most stains are water-based and require water to remove spills and mishaps. A dry-clean fabric is not practical for heavy, everyday use in a normal home. Buy smart in order to preserve a nice appearance. There are many beautiful fabrics being manufactured now that are washable, providing customers with a more serviceable fabric.
What’s unique about Russell’s?
Customers appreciate something familiar, especially since Katrina. People are thrilled that an old favorite is still around and in the same hands. It provides a sense of security. Not everything has changed—our family is still determined to provide continuing specialty cleaning to the metro New Orleans area.