River City Six – Charlie Christenson
Meet Charlie Christenson, owner of Christenson Cleaning & Restoration (www.christensonclean.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
Christenson Cleaning & Restoration is a family-owned business that Cindy and Eric Christenson, my parents, started back in 1983. In order to make some extra money, they began cleaning one account in the evenings after their full-time jobs. This one account eventually grew into handfuls. In 2015, I took over the business when I was just 22, growing it into what it is today. Now, we service multiple cities and towns in Nebraska, and six states across the U.S. specializing in fire, water, and mold. Christenson Cleaning & Restoration is certified through the I.I.C.R.C., the E.P.A for lead paint removal, trained by Midwest Training Institute for mold remediation, and most recently certified through the G.B.A.C for COVID-19 disinfecting.
How did you get started in the business?
I have helped out with the business ever since I can remember. From vacuuming to collecting trash around different accounts and anything else my parents asked me to do. I grew up in the janitorial industry. When I turned 16 and was able to drive, I got my own accounts to clean and supervise. Eventually, I became manager of the company, and as of six years ago, I became the owner.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Going from 15 employees to now well over 75 was a challenge at times. We started by adding systems and procedures to the day-to-day operations, focused on structuring the company, and training new employees— without losing sight of where we began.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Growing the business while maintaining our loyal customer base is one thing I’m very proud of. We have not lost sight of where we began, yet have been able to improve ourselves along the way—making for an even better customer experience. We are still cleaning for families that my mom and dad cleaned for in 1983. I believe this speaks to the fact that we always put our customers first and never skimped on service.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
I enjoy being outside. I would start by getting an iced coffee at a local coffee shop and going on a walk around the lake near my house. I am a very outgoing person, so I like to spend my time with friends and family. When I’m by myself, I like researching stocks and watching real estate shows.
Who inspires you?
My mom inspires me in more ways than one. My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer, which is partly why I took over the business at such a young age. My mom was the most selfless person I know—always looking out for others. She had the strongest work ethic and instilled in me, from a very young age, how far you can get by working your hardest.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To go back in time.
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite TV show?
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Nicola’s Italian Wine & Fare.
If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be?