Business Cleans Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Systems

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Todd and David Adams decided to open a Hoodz franchise because of the negative effect the economy recently has had on the construction industry and their masonry business.

"We've been concerned about the economy and that's one of the reasons we decided to venture into something new, so we'd be diversified if things don't come back," said Todd Adams, the older of two brothers and owner of Adamses Masonry in Dyer. "We wanted to start a new business and looked into franchises." Hoodz, which was opened by Belfour International in 2009, is a national leader in the restaurant kitchen exhaust cleaning industry with more than 100 franchises nationwide.

After visiting Hoodz office in Ann Arbor, Mich., and attending a discovery day there, the Adamses decided to buy a franchise.

"We were really impressed with the corporate office and how they ran the business, and we wanted to be a part of it," he said.

Despite being a former model for several well-known companies, including Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Miller Light, Todd Adams said he doesn't mind being in a dirty business. Before opening their franchise, both Adams brothers attended the five-day training course mandatory for Hoodz operators.

There they became certified and learned to clean commercial kitchen exhaust systems from rooftop to cook-top in a manner that adheres to the National Fire Protection Association's Standard 96 so their completed work meets all local and state inspections.

Hoodz has several competitors, but Todd Adams said none clean to Hoodz standards.

"One restaurant we just picked up had their kitchen exhaust system cleaned by another company the day before the fire inspector came in," Todd Adams said. "He (the fire inspector) asked the owner how long it had been since it had been cleaned. That's when he called us." Todd Adams, of Valparaiso, and David Adams, of Schererville, financed about $100,000 for the cost of the franchise and the truck and equipment it requires with savings and a Small Business Administration loan. They are on track to repay the loan within its terms, Todd Adams said.

"It's going real well," he said. "We've had a pretty positive response and have quite a few accounts. All our clients have been pleased with our work." The Adamses' Hoodz territory includes Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in Indiana and stretches from the state line to Interstate 57 in Illinois and from Interstate 80/94 on the north to Beecher, Ill., on the south.

The brothers have been making a lot of cold calls to potential clients and doing free inspections, Todd Adams said. Plus, a friend with a restaurant heating and cooling business has given them referrals, and their history in the area is helping.

"We both grew up in Schererville," Todd Adams said. "Living here our whole lives we know a lot of people, and that's been a big help in our business. Hoodz has been a good move for us."

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