With more than a century in business, it’s safe to say Oregon-based Atiyeh Bros Inc. is a firm fixture in the carpet and rug industry. Kevin Atiyeh is the fourth generation of his family to run their business, which has been in operation for 119 years. Atiyeh Bros Inc. sells and cleans carpet and rugs for commercial and residential clients in Oregon, offering comprehensive service to their customers.
“We retail fine handmade, machine-made, and wall-to-wall carpeting to residential and commercial clients,” Atiyeh reports. “We also have full cleaning plants that offer in-plant rug cleaning, repair services, appraisals, padding, fiber protection, and on-location residential and commercial wall-to-wall carpeting and furniture cleaning.”
From two brothers to four generations of Atiyeh Bros
As the name suggests, Atiyeh Bros. began with two brothers, Aziz and George Atiyeh. Aziz Atiyeh immigrated to the United States in 1897 at the age of 17 from Ottoman, Syria. Aziz started in Pennsylvania as a distributor between importers and peddlers. He made his way to Portland, Oregon and opened the A. Atiyeh business in 1900.
Two years later, his younger brother George arrived to help with the business, and the name changed to A. Atiyeh and Bro. As the business grew, George stayed in Portland to run the retail arm of the company, while Aziz moved to New York City where he built a wholesale operation. Aziz also began traveling to Kerman, Persia (present-day Iran) to establish looms that would design and manufacture their own rugs, known as the Kerman DeLuxe.
More than a hundred years later, Atiyeh Bros. remains a family rug business. With 50 employees in three locations across Oregon (Portland, Tigard, and Eugene), the company is a one-stop shop for carpet and rug needs, including sales, installation, cleaning, repair, and appraisals.
Although the company is a multi-generational family legacy, Kevin says there was never any pressure for him to join the business: “My parents encouraged me to do what I was interested in. I found a love and interest for rugs while working summers at our cleaning plant while in school.”
Even though Kevin enjoyed the work, he didn’t join Atiyeh Bros. right away. With a degree in business and a focus on finance, he worked two jobs in the financial services industry after college. In the end, the people and the rug industry drew him back to Atiyeh Bros. full time. Kevin says, “The people in our industry are wonderful to work with and learn from,” and he feels “fortunate and honored” to continue his family’s legacy.
The importance of people
At the head of the business today, Kevin relies on the advice of his great uncle: “Keep your ears open and your mouth shut.” Kevin says thanks to this advice, he’s been fortunate to work with and learn from more experienced people in the industry, and he challenges himself to continue learning as much as he can.
“Being able to work side by side with certified rug and carpet technicians has allowed me to learn from the best people in our industry,” he says. In fact, for Kevin, everything about this business comes down to the people—those he works with and the customers he builds relationships with.
When it comes to marketing, Kevin says people are at the center of that as well. “The best kind of marketing is how well we clean and sell rugs and how we treat our customers. If we exceed our customers’ expectations, they will return and refer others to Atiyeh Bros. Sure, we do a lot of print and digital advertising as well, but exceeding customer expectations is our goal.”
Looking ahead and looking back
Kevin says there are no immediate plans to open more facilities, but there is opportunity for growth in the areas they already serve. With three Oregon-based locations, Atiyeh Bros. serves much of the state, including the Portland metro area. The company operates a total of 13 wall-to-wall cleaning vans and transport trucks for on-location cleaning and transprotation to and from the wash plants.
When asked what advice he would give to someone just starting out in the industry, Kevin says, “Have a passion for what you do, surround yourself with people who have the same passion, and listen… Work hard and treat people with kindness and respect.”
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