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Meet Andre Kazimierski of Sophia’s Cleaning Service

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andre Kazimierski.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Andre. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
If you asked me as a kid what I wanted to do when I grew up, running a cleaning company wasn’t exactly at the top of my list, but it’s funny how life sometimes decides for you. Here is the story behind Sophia’s Cleaning and its late founder (my mother), Sophia Borek.

I remember the day I first learned about my mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis like it was yesterday. I was 23 and just got back home from apartment-hunting in Michigan on a Friday when I got the call from my aunt that they had discovered my mom had stage 4 colon cancer. She was only 52 years old at the time and the doctors gave her a few months to live. My brother, who was only 16 at the time and I, were devastated.

Growing up in Riverside, I saw my mom do it all; she ran a small cleaning business, taught part time over at Komarek Elementary, worked as a translator for a German magazine, was a realtor, volunteered at a non-profit, and flipped houses on the south side. Above all else, she took the most pride in her company and namesake, Sophia’s Cleaning Service.

I started helping with the family cleaning business at an early age, volunteering to pass out flyers during early morning paper routes. When I was 12, I learned the value of hard work by working the demo and cleanup crews at my mom’s investment properties. In high school, If I wasn’t in class or at practice, I’d speed-read every business book I could get my hands on. I built Sophia’s first website and CRM system my senior year and continued working on project for the business every chance I got.

I learned a ton by working with my mom those years, but above all, she taught me the KEY to running a business with integrity is that you have to BE a person with integrity, every single day with everything you do.

When I began at DePaul, I got a chance to do just that. I started a painting business and spent my weekends knocking on doors in Riverside, Western Springs, and every suburb in between. After graduation, I decided to focus on expanding the company to Wisconsin and then Michigan. Eventually, I planned to sell my stake so I could get a job in tech. Yet, that all changed when I got the call that Friday morning.

Learning that your mom only has a few months to live certainly wasn’t an easy thing to hear but it didn’t take too long for me to remember all the things she was able to juggle when I was growing up. She never made excuses and despite being a single parent, still managed to make every football game and piano recital. I knew I had to step up to the plate like she always did so I asked to take over as part-time “family CEO” so she could focus on chemo and spending time with my little brother who she was very close with.

Knowing that she didn’t have much time left and had always wanted me to take over Sophia’s Cleaning, I made her the promise that I would keep her business alive long after her death.. My mom passed away a few weeks later on September 2nd of 2012.

Knowing my mom had always wanted me to take over Sophia’s Cleaning Service, I am proud to keep her memory alive through her business and namesake today. Our company’s success and reputation for integrity is due in large part to the inspiring example she set during her lifetime. In her honor, Sophia’s Cleaning donates a portion of each cleaning visit to cancer research.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I first took over the cleaning service after my mom’s passing, I found myself losing some really good people in the company within just a few weeks.

The problem I soon realized, was me. I was using the same in-your-face management style that worked for me in the construction field. Little did I know it was a bit too direct in comparison to what my mom’s workers had been used to.

I learned quickly how important it is to really listen to my people. I had been too busy trying to figure out solutions to every little issue to realize that my people often already had the answers. I just had to shut up and listen.

The funny thing is that I just got back into the construction field with my new company, 3rd Gen Painting and Remodeling, and had to adapt to a new communication style again. Luckily, I’m a bit wiser now and caught myself before any damage was done.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sophia’s Cleaning Service – what should we know?
Our mission at Sophia’s Cleaning Service has been the same for the past 34 years: to provide the highest quality commercial and residential cleaning services available in Chicagoland at a fair price to each of our clients.

Sophia’s is a 2nd generation family run business that has been built on the simple values of trust, integrity, and treating our customers how we would want to be treated. Our company is a reflection of the values that our late founder and mother, Sophia Borek, instilled in us.

Personally, I think our secret is the quality of people we have at Sophia’s. We are extremely selective with the cleaners that we hire, conducting multiple background checks and interviews with applicants before they even have a shot of cleaning a customer’s home or office building.

Our customers know that our cleaners will be both skilled workers and, more importantly, great people that you can trust in your home or office, day-in and day-out.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Definitely my Mother who inspired me to be an entrepreneur and live life to the fullest during the little time we all have.

Also my wife, Carol, who has been my rock through all the ups and downs. She is the most kind-hearted person I know and has helped make me the man I am today.

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