The year was 1948 and Chris Ambrose, having suffered three major heart attacks before the age of 30, left Vineland, New Jersey with his wife, Sally, daughter Lorraine, and infant son, Roger. On the advice of his doctors, Chris moved his family the warm climate of St. Petersburg, Florida. That same year, he opened the doors of Central Vacuum Stores, named for its location on Central Avenue, famous for its “green benches”. Having been an Electrolux manager in New Jersey, Chris had aspirations of owning a successful vacuum cleaner business.
In the years that followed, Sally and Chris built a thriving vacuum cleaner business representing companies like Hoover, Eureka, Panasonic, Sharp, Rainbow, Bissell, Simplicity, and Oreck. In addition to building a business, they added another son to their family, Robin. In 1972 Roger, now a Vietnam Veteran and college graduate, joined the company. In 1974 Roger married Renee Hendry. Renee had worked at Central Vacuum while she was in high school and after they were married, she would fill in from time to time. In 1976 they began a family and went on to have six children who, over the years, spent time working in the stores. By the early 80´s, Central Vacuum Stores was operating six stores in Pinellas County, Florida.
With the growth of the mega retailer, Roger decided it would be a good idea to diversify and began installing central vacuum systems in Pinellas and Hillsborough County. Soon after, he added intercom installation to Central Vacuum´s product offering. The installation business continued to grow and Central Vacuum Stores was soon installing central vacuum systems and intercoms throughout West Central Florida, traveling as far north as Ocala and as far south as Miami.