[ A&B Window Cleaning, Fargo ]
Story by Tracy Nicholson / Portrait photography by J. Alan Paul Photography, additional project photos provided by A&M Window Cleaning and Essentia Health
When we say A&B Window Cleaning works with some of the biggest businesses in town, we mean it, literally. Scan your eye across the horizon and you’ll see plenty of commercial buildings scraping the sky. Ever wonder who’s fearless enough to tackle the window cleaning? This month, Midwest Nest is proud to introduce you to the A&B Window Cleaning team, a family-owned business that takes pride in scaling some of the area’s most vertically-challenging homes and businesses.
Elevating the Family Business
From its first day in 1997, A&B Window Cleaning has relied on the integrity of one hard-working couple; Barb and Tony Hampson. With a borrowed truck and a handful of basic cleaning tools, the two started from the ground up and set their sights higher with every passing year.
Two years ago, after the Hampsons retired, their children Amy Johnson and AJ Hampson stepped in to take over the business, carrying on their family tradition of hard work, integrity and innovation. Tito Santoya joined the close-knit team nearly five years ago and Corey Janes has been with them for the past eight months. Each team member is properly trained and capable of handling any aspect of their job. Whether it’s a bone-chilling 20 below or sweltering 95 degrees, you can bet they’ll be there with a smile.
Residential: Speedy & Streamlined
While they’re well known for technique and quality, A&B Window Cleaning is also known for speed. When it comes to the typical residential property, they take a streamlined and skilled approach, spending mere minutes at each property. Working as a team, they can properly manage cleanings on anywhere from 8 to 15 houses a day. “Some companies will send one guy and he’ll be there all day, whereas we’ll bring a team; we get in and get out, so people can move on and enjoy their day,” said Amy Johnson. A&B does both interior and exterior windows, making sure to get every inch, from the sills to the screens.
Reaching the Unreachable: Windows, Lighting & Bulbs
Construction is booming, and while modern design is leaning toward architectural lighting and window placements, the homeowner is often ill-prepared to manage the upkeep. To reach windows and lighting 20 to 30 feet high, A&B relies on a lift to safely navigate the cleanings and will even change out lightbulbs. This is a sought-after service that cleaning companies can’t typically offer.
“A lot of people, especially in really nice homes, rightfully get nervous when you bring a 20-foot ladder inside, especially around family heirlooms, pianos and furnishings. We go above and beyond to respect and protect their homes and family; our number one goal is to bring high quality and high safety to their residence,” said AJ Hampson.
Commercial: Scaling the Skylines
If you’re a fan of extreme sports, the team at A&B does not disappoint. They are often seen rappelling down the side of our region’s tallest buildings. Rest assured, they carry the highest OSHA standard and high-rise training with aerial platform certifications; they even have their own OSHA consultant. For some of the more vertically challenging windows, the team relies on a Bosun chair and a rolling outrigger beam that sits on the roof. This is a portable system so it can be moved side to side as they work.
Architectural Endeavors: Essentia Health
One of the architectural obstacles that their team has adapted to, is the interior spiral within Essentia’s 32nd Avenue hospital. “We knew no one in the area had the capability to do it, so we custom-built a rig that would allow us to descend down the spiral,” explained AJ Hampson. “We do a lot of things like this throughout the area and finding solutions for each business or home is what makes us so unique.”
“Architecture is either our friend or nemesis,” said AJ Hampson. “With the new Sanford and the Essentia hospitals, these architects are pushing boundaries. Thankfully, we’ve been able to be involved in the architectural process of these buildings for OSHA standards; we teamed up to at least point them in the right direction. We’re very involved in our community as far as builders and contractors, and that sets us apart in our craft.”
Superheroes by Day
Last month, the A&B Window Cleaning team transformed into superheroes and descended from the top of the new Sanford Medical Center in South Fargo. Afterward, they paid a visit to patients at Sanford Children’s Hospital. “It really tugs at the heartstrings,” said Amy Johnson. “We take great pride in being involved with this and we feel it is such a great event that lifts the spirits of so many. Any way we can come together for good, we are always in!”
The Pursuit of Perfection
For some commercial buildings and residential properties, they might be able to keep their feet on the ground, but their skills and strength are still put to the test. “When you have 30-foot poles in the air, it takes a completely different technique than just working with 10-foot windows in front of you,” said AJ Hampson.
In their nearly 23-years in business, the family has come to realize that easier doesn’t mean better. “We see many companies using water-fed poles because it’s easy, but we still rely on the old-school techniques; there’s a little extra elbow grease, but we can get a much higher quality clean,” said AJ Hampson. While the company has evolved its services and technique over the years, there’s one sentiment that remains the same; take the time to do the job right. “We want our clients to remember us for the quality of our work and know that we will always go the extra mile,” said AJ Hampson.
One Strong Family
Like all families who work together, the Hampsons have their trying days, but they’re always outnumbered by the good ones. “We get busy and it can get stressful, but we talk it out at the end of the day and it’s all good,” laughed Barb Hampson. “Tony taught everyone well; do a good job and have fun doing it.”
“Half of us are military and we’re all into fitness; Corey, Amy and I, have all competed in bodybuilding competitions. We take care of ourselves which helps us offer trade services at the highest level possible,” said AJ Hampson. “At the end of the day, we could easily hire 10 more employees, but we’re a close-knit team, so I know I can count on everyone to get the job done properly, respectfully, and the customer’s always going to be happy.”