After feeling that his walks and outside playtime were not appropriately long enough for an English Labrador of his stature, my dog had expressed himself one too many times on the living room rug.
So there I sat last week in the lobby of Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning at 3206 King Street, with this cheap area rug we bought years ago at Lowe’s. I felt appropriately embarassed when a well-dressed guy in a German-made sports car came in toting this gorgeous Iranian rug, seemingly turning his nose up at me and my machine-made “Oriental rug,” which was in fact probably mass-produced in some plant in Dalton, GA. I grabbed some old magazines, hoping to cover up the tags containing its origins
“This is an Imperial Farahan dating to the 1920s which I got years ago on a trip to Lebanon,” the man pronounced regally, acting as if he were some Lepidopterist who had stumbled upon some rare and wondrous butterfly. “It’s worth, like, $20,000 and I need it cleaned properly.”
Joe Hadeed looked at the rug and politely identified the rug as something else. “What you have there, sir, is a Hamadan region rug from Iran,” he said politely, as the man quickly deflated. “There are 800 different regions of Hamadan, and that looks like it’s from the Malair city of Iran.”
Hadeed, 42, acknowledged that the rug was worth about $3,200 and that he would take care of it appropriately. Hearing this, I felt less deflated about having a rug from Lowe’s. Hey, it does the job.
The Hadeeds have been in the carpet business for nearly a century and know their stuff. Michael Hadeed Jr. set up shop here after a stint in the U.S. Army and a job learning the rug cleaning business at the old Hinkel Rug Cleaning Co. Their father, Michael Hadeed, Sr. arrived at Ellis Island in 1905 and fought for the United States Army in World War I. He had also been involved in the rug business, having immigrated from the Middle East.
“I learned the business from the bottom up, starting in the rug drying room,” said Michael Hadeed, who turns 78 next month and lives in the Rose Hill area. Another son, Michael M. Hadeed, is a criminal defense attorney in Springfield, and a sister, Mary, lives in Sterling. “I am proud of my son for carrying on the family tradition,” Michael Hadeed said.
The senior Hadeed and his brother Teddy, who died in 1981, started the business on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray on April 13, 1955 with his brother Teddy, at the location which is now Al’s Steak House.
“It was a little mom and pop business until I bought it in 1990,” said the younger Hadeed, who borrowed $300,000 from Burke & Herbert Bank and grew it into a bustling $3 million a year business with 32 employees. “I started here when I was 19 years old. My uncle Teddy taught me the business.”
After college at Radford and a short stint selling cars at Sheehy Ford, Joe Hadeed bought the business from his dad and embarked on a massive expansion. “I was living at the Alexandria House and I noticed one day that the dry cleaners were picking up from the front desk clerk,” he recalled. “That seemed to me a great way to expand the business.”
Joe Hadeed moved the business to Duke Street and embarked on a massive expansion, adding trucks and advertising the service they provide. With a fleet of nine trucks doing pickups and deliveries, Hadeed cleans, repairs or restores the gamut, from Chinese rugs to hand hooked or hand woven rugs to fine Persian and Oriental rugs. Even my Lowe’s special.
A trip last week to the back rooms of the facility revealed a hearty crew of workers proudly rebuilding tassels, patching, deodorizing, stitching, repairing and meticulously cleaning rugs to their former glory. Recently they worked feverishly during a three-day period to clean a massive, $4 million Oriental rug from the George Washington Masonic Temple. Hadeed supervised the work himself, flanked by a crew of armed security guards. The average employee works about seven years for the Hadeeds, while several have been with them for 20 years or longer.
“Advertising in the local newspapers and selling Oriental rugs in a showroom next to the cleaning facility grew our business about ten-fold,” he recalled. “Then we graduated to radio and now TV.”
Hadeed hopes to expand the business so that he’s cleaning rugs up and down the Mid-Atlantic, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. He plans to expand his current facility from 8,500 square feet to a larger facility of 60,000 square feet, adding about 90 new employees if all goes right.
“This will be a $25 million business by the time we’re done,” he predicted. “I just love this business. I’m here six days a week.”
Hadeed Oriental Rug Cleaning
3206 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA. 22314