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02/28/2007 - Richard Kirishian’s RugSpa Expands e-Commerce

“Did you know that an 8’ x 10’ size rug holds 8 to 10 pounds of dirt and still looks clean?” Richard Kirishian, of Kirishian Rugs & Home Décor and RugSpa, at 220 E Second Ave has the only rug washing equipment and service in the greater Northwest, and perhaps the entire United States. This is an “old fashioned” service. The rug is transported to the Spa where it is pampered, massaged, deep cleaned, groomed, and combed. It leaves with a delicate fragrance, heightened color, and with fringe and pile restored as needed – and much lighter.

Fine wool and silk rugs – whether hand knotted or loomed – deserve the spa treatment. It is much more thorough and gentle than the steam cleaning employed for wall-to-wall carpeting that can’t be picked up and shipped to the spa. Area rugs were washed long before “dry cleaning” techniques were invented, and still remains the best way to clean a rug, according to Kirishian. Quality rugs of other fibers benefit from washing as well.

Although steeped in tradition, Kirishian does not run a nineteenth century business. People from all over the United States ship their rugs to the RugSpa for washing. They learn about the service from one of two Kirishian Web sites: www.rugspa.com, or www.kirishianrugs.com. The prospective client can get a cost estimate and arrange for specific services through the e-commerce portions of the Web sites. When the client wants a rug cleaned, they contact Kirishian by e-mail, and Kirishian sends them a “rug transport kit.” The kit contains instructions, a heavy-duty plastic bag large enough for a 9 x 12 rug, and all the needed ties. Kirishian arranges for shipping via FedEx, using FedEx software, and FedEx picks up the rug at the door, and after cleaning returns it the same way. Shipping is costly, but many Kirishian clients live in New York, Florida, Dallas, or San Francisco. The quality of cleaning plus the technology driven convenience and security is more important to them than the extra cost.

The Spa treatment is fascinating, and a lot of the work is still done by hand. Upon arrival, the rug is spread out and is carefully inspected. The rug experts check for worn spots and damage by pets, moths, or wall-to-wall cleaning equipment. Then they check for color fastness.

The next step is dusting – the removal of those pounds of dirt. Kirishian jokes that he collects some of the best top soil in Spokane. This is followed by pre-soaking to reduce soil and spots – only in cold water for wool rugs. The next stage has water and detergent gently massaged through the rug followed by complete rinsing to remove all of the detergent. This is followed by grooming to set the pile in the proper direction, combing out the fringe, and drying in an environmentally controlled room. After the rug is dry, it is inspected and if there are any stains, or Kirishian isn’t satisfied, the rug will be put through the washing and drying process again. Finally the rugs are restored as needed. If it is a hand knotted rug, the repair is made by hand. For a machine made rug, the repairs will be made by machine. The before and after pictures on www.rugspa.com illustrate the story.

Another completely twenty-first century service Kirishian offers is the “Ultra Shield” -- a flouropolymer that is sprayed on rugs. This is a spray that protects against many of the problems that befall rugs – spills, pets, smoke, and mold. “Ultra Shield” is covered by warranty for five years.

The Kirishian family has been in the rug business for generations. Originally from Armenia, the first Kirishian brothers store opened in Spokane in 1920. That store was at First and Howard. Richard Kirishian learned how to manufacture rugs from his Grandmother and about the business from his father. He took over the family business when only nineteen because of the death of his father.

Contact Richard Kirishian at Richard@kirishianrugs.com or telephone (509) 624-8084.

Billie Moreland
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