CHRIS BUCKLEY, Staff Writer
Charles Russo worked as a door-to-door salesman, selling sweepers for Electrolux Corp. during the 1940s and 1950s. But by 1955, Electrolux Corp. closed its local store. So Russo opened a small store along Fallowfield Avenue in Charleroi. When the parking authority took over the building and razed it to build a parking lot, he moved that business, Charleroi Sweeper Center, to its current location at 618 Fallowfield Ave.
“We started as an independent dealer for sweeper companies and became an authorized dealer for sales and repair for such brand names as Hoover, Eureka, Oreck, Royal, Filter Queen, Rainbow and Riccar, the last of the American-made sweeper — all metal based,” said Sonny Russo, Charleroi Sweeper Center’s current owner, who took over from his father in 1962. “We also carry the Mon Valley’s largest selection of paper bags for sweepers, over 200 bags.”
Charleroi Sweeper began selling trains in 1972. The trains are kept in “Tommy’s Room,” named in honor of Sonny and Donna Russo’s son, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1996. The train section of the business is located at 616 Fallowfield Ave., part of the Charleroi Sweeper store that is connected to the main storefront and is accessible through the sweeper portion of the business.
Ron Matay is the sole employee. He was Tommy Russo’s best friend and came to work at Charleroi Sweeper shortly after Tommy’s death.
So why has he remained in business for so long? “I’m good at it,” Sonny Russo said with a laugh. “I’ve had people ask me ‘Why don’t you retire?’ If I retire, I’d sit at home. We met lots of friends here every day. They come in when they come into town.”
The Chamber of Commerce is proud to have Charleroi Sweeper Center on the membership rolls for more than 28 years. Sonny and Donna regularly participate in Chamber events and have been generous in supporting the Greater Charleroi community. Please visit Charleroi Sweeper at 618 Fallowfield Avenue or call 724-483-3397.