Tri-City business gives new life to old carpets

Bill Secolo says he’s been “dyeing” for years to resurrect old carpets and to save his clients money.

Secolo’s expertise with mixing colors and dyes helps him mask bleach stains, clean and remove blemishes, and eliminate cigarette and pet odors from carpets. That’s made him popular with apartment complex managers, homeowners and real estate agents since he moved to the Tri-Cities from Salem about three years ago.

And a slow economy is bringing him more business. Instead of replacing old carpets, some people are getting Secolo to fix them.

“I’ve never had a slow day since I started, ” said Secolo, owner of Mr. Color Carpet Dyeing, Cleaning & Repair.

He can infuse new life into a used carpet, said Julie Lynch, business manager at Desertbrook Apartments in Kennewick. He cleans, patches and sews tears in the carpet, said Lynch, who commissioned Secolo to work at several apartment buildings on behalf of her company, Pinnacle.

Carpets in rental apartments generally are expected to last about four years, Lynch said. Spills, pet odor and cigarette smoke can cause more problems than one can imagine, she said. But a well-cared-for carpet can last up to eight years, she said.

Replacing carpet in a one-bedroom apartment can cost $700 to $1,100, but Secolo can make a heavily soiled carpet look new again for less than a few hundred dollars, Lynch said.

It’s a great savings, considering the carpets need to be fixed each time a tenant moves out, she said.

“I like making things new again,” said Secolo, 49, who runs his business from his home.

Sylvia Erickson said she was ready to give up on a carpet at one of several properties her company manages in the Tri-Cities before Secolo took a look.

“He did some patching work that you couldn’t even see,” said Erickson, president of Crown Property Management in Kennewick. She said she saved about $1,000.

He can definitely add years to a carpet’s life, said Erickson, who also does business with other carpet cleaning companies. Dyeing and stain removal is Secolo’s specialty, she said.

When there are too many stains on a carpet, it’s easier to dye, said Secolo, who’s been in the carpet-cleaning and dyeing business since 1981. He uses what he called “cold water dyes” that allow him to do a better job faster.

For removing dirty spots resulting from spills or pet urine, he uses a variety of chemicals, he said. He repairs carpet holes and frayed edges using special tools.

He has two full-time and two part-time employees to help him with his business, which generates about $350,000 a year, he said.

“We are considered a recession-resistant business,” Secolo said.

He said his business has grown through word of mouth.

“Secolo has become an integral part of my business,” said Bob Moon, a real estate agent with Cold Banker Tomlinson Associated Brokers. He’s been recommending Secolo for carpet jobs to his clients for about a year.

Moon said Secolo’s services help prep a home for sale, and at a lower cost.

“He can tell you as much as you want to know about the condition of the carpet, and guarantees his work.”