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The first winter blast of 2024 slammed Central Illinois with a bitter mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow closing schools, shuttering businesses and turning roads into sheets of ice. In Decatur, as was the case in Springfield and Champaign, the arctic weather brought life to a standstill for the majority of retailers, with one noteworthy exception.

“We always like to say that broken pipes don’t happen Monday through Friday from eight to five. And it takes that attitude (of unwavering service) for all of us to be committed to that core value,” Brad Wike, President of Peerless Cleaning and Restoration Services, stated with a smile.

When weather is at its worst during a winter, business has been traditionally at its best over the years for Peerless Cleaning and Restoration Services. On this day in mid-January, management of the Decatur flagship of a well-known hotel called Wike’s business to remove several inches of water caused by a broken pipe triggered by the cold.

It’s not a stretch to say Wike’s crews have much in common with the famous motto of the U.S. Postal Service that states “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

“We say it’s be the best. Never quit. And in the restoration business, in particular, oftentimes we start getting calls at midnight on a Friday night,” Wike stated. “We are a mitigation company, so we dry and restore buildings after fire, water, and mold losses,” Wike explained.

The origin story of how Wike’s business has evolved is like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Literally!

In 1945, the business got its launch in Decatur as Peerless Curtain Cleaners with four employees and two vehicles. In 1978, Wike’s parents wanted to get out of the corporate world, and so they contacted a business broker, and asked if there were any small businesses for sale. Just so happened that Peerless was on the agent’s list.

Wike says his father didn’t have sufficient financing to purchase the business outright, but asked the former owner if he would be willing to sell the business on contract. “They ended up cutting a deal and the business was sold the business to my parents. At the time, it was just my mom and dad and three other people in their dry cleaning plant,” Wike recalled.

Fast forward to 1980 when a fire broke out at the dry cleaning plant and gutted the facility. Wike said that an insurance adjuster told his parents there were no restoration contractors in Decatur and wrote his parents a check to get the place cleaned up. “My dad asked if he could take the check and clean up the dry cleaning plant on his own. So, the family cleaned the plant up and that’s how they got into the fire and restoration business,” Wike stated.

Wike says, from his own family ordeal, he knows that he is helping people when they are at their most vulnerable during a time of crisis.

“One of the things that we find is that when we’re called in, and particularly on the restoration side of the business, usually it’s their largest asset that’s been either damaged by water, tornado, fire, even if it is a mold or mediation job.

We’re there when they need us the most. Were 24-7. 365 days a year. I can’t remember a Christmas Eve or a Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving or Easter that we didn’t have a crew on the road,” Wike stated with confidence.

It’s an unwavering commitment to the community that has made Peerless Cleaning and Restoration Services one of the largest, locally-owned mitigation cleanup firms in all of Central Illinois. The company expanded from Decatur into Springfield more than ten years ago and carries out the bulk of its business in those markets as well as in Champaign and Bloomington.

“Businesses don’t always evolve. We have evolved, and I think that adding different business lines certainly has helped us,” Wike said.

“We love to serve people, and we like to make things better and it is a business we’ve been in forever,” Wike says with pride. “I’ve been doing this for 32 years, and I have a vested interest in the community and the people we serve.

 “I think we matter because we provide a great service to the community when there’s a need for it. We’ve been around a long time and one of the purposes, or one of the things I believe that we’re committed to, is giving back to the community. So, I think at the level that we can give back, we’re a valuable company to the areas that we serve,” Wike stated.

Brad Wike values the strong commitment his company makes to community throughout Central Illinois.

“We’re on numerous boards. We sponsor Little League teams, fundraisers, and non-profit organizations. If somebody calls us asking for help, the answer is always yes. We’re always trying to find a way to do something.

“I like to say we’re problem solvers. Whether it’s carpet cleaning, a stain on a blouse, a stain on an area rug, maybe it’s a pet urine stain, whatever that is, a fire, water damage, mold remediation or even trauma, people have problems and we solve those problems. The people that work for us love to serve people,” Wike said, well aware he had a large crew working long hours in temperatures hovering around the freezing mark to remove the final remnants of water from a hotel in Decatur.

Wike reassures his audience that he wouldn’t have it any other way, because that’s the Peerless way of doing business.

“Everything’s gonna be fine. Just call Peerless,” states the company’s motto.

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