After a spirited sit down with Megan Pellegrino, the Director of the Hoover Historical Center and Museum Studies at Walsh University, I discovered some heart-warming truths about the birthplace and evolution of the Hoover household vacuum. Company pride runs through the Canton community like water, which explains why my opening question of “do you have a Hoover vacuum?” deserved a springy “heck yeah!” So why is Hoover such a big deal and how do you get people excited about floorcare? “In short, Hoover built a town,” says Pellegrino.
The Hoover family sponsored North Canton’s first library, YMCA, firehouse, basically all the vital organs so the community came to life — so the overarching air of appreciation is felt on the daily.
For members of the community, Hoover is a fast family tie, dating back when the company was originally a leather goods manufacturer. Interestingly enough, Hoover Park was originally called Hoover Camp due to a beloved attempt to rally all the top salesmen from around the world into a centralized campsite for a week-long romp full of fishing, dancing, eating and sales coaching with the Hoover execs themselves. They would literally parade these top sellers, aka “Maxy Men” around town, floats and all.
This year, in celebration of those past festivities and more than 100 years of tradition in design, innovation, and marketing, North Canton, OH hosted its first annual Hoover Festival. Even flash flood warnings the night before were not persuasive enough to rain on their planned parade. In spite of the weather, 480 people participated, including Hoover Brand Managers from the Charlotte office. From international sales conventions to employee grounds, the full circle Hoover family effect was complete. A full century of anything is notable but connecting with the local community is an impetus for the company.
The event was a mix of history and fun. Larry Hoover and his son Chuck, the founders of the Hoover Family Foundation, traditionally donate $3 million every year to the community, and this year was no exception. If your corporate event looks and feels like a family reunion, you know you’re doing something right. There’s a deep sense of connection and loyalty in North Canton, but also a hopeful attitude in making new connections for centuries to come. What also may surprise you, is Hoover’s deep connection to the auto industry. With its start as a leather and leather goods manufacturer (est. 1870), mainly for horses, Hoover had a hand in providing things like leather steering wheel covers and seat cushions needed to construct the Model-T in 1903. Soon after that, the family business saw the opportunity that existed in floorcare innovation, and that decision has seen great success over the decades.