Inside Business: J&R Vacuum and Sewing - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Inside Business: J&R Vacuum and Sewing

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From humble beginnings in the basement of the Patterson Hotel 37 years ago, to robotic vacuum cleaners, this is one business that has seen a lot of changes.

Jim Barnhardt knows a lot about vacuum cleaners and sewing machines. His business, J&R Vacuum and Sewing, has grown from a one-man operation to one of the largest vacuum and sewing stores in the Upper Midwest.

"J&R goes back to 1977. I purchased a fledgling vacuum store in the basement of the Paterson Hotel Building at that point. I added sewing machines in 1991, and here we are today."

In Barnhardt's business, that means displaying more than 100 different models of vacuum cleaners, sewing machines and embroidery machines.

Like every other industry, technology is playing a greater role. An example would be this computer operated robotic vacuum cleaners.

"Robotic vacuums have been around for a number of years. You turn it loose and it programs itself in consistent patterns going back and forth and you can hit the switch before you leave in the morning and come home to a clean floor that evening," he says.

Computers are at work in other areas as well.

"We now have vacuums with circuit boards. We have sewing machines that are basically computers that sew. We are very much into technology these days."

Computers have also helped take the drudgery out of sewing and embroidering, and Barnhardt says that's a good thing, as it allows his customers to be more creative.

"Nobody really has to sew anymore. It's about having fun and just enjoying themselves," he says.

Barnhardt says he is looking forward to more growth in the business, and he is also working on plans to renovate his building, which is one of the oldest structures in downtown Bismarck.

J&R Vacuum and Sewing is located at Third and Main in Bismarck. You can learn more about them online at

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