GREENVILLE — Nevin “Nub” Hiestand was disappointed when he heard the Great Darke County Fair wasn’t going to be the same as before because of COVID-19 and its regulations.
This would have been his 56th as a vendor in the Coliseum with Rainbow Sales and Services. And, he was looking forward to it, since Rainbow unveiled its most recent model, the SRX, which has many more technical features on it.
“I never missed a fair,” said the 86-year-old. “I was looking forward to seeing old customers and making new ones.”
“He was always in the same big corner in the Coliseum,” said granddaughter Tracy Wendel, a receptionist in his shop at 929 Front St.
Yes, the new Rainbow sweeper was going to be the feature for this year. Now, the display is set up in the shop, complete with the fair sign they were going to use when they thought the fair would happen.
Hiestand started selling Rainbow sweepers at his home in Rossburg in 1964, and began servicing them in the early 1980s.
How did he get that opportunity?
“My wife, Shirley (who died in 2013) wanted a new vacuum cleaner,” he recalled. “She wanted a Rainbow. The price was $277.75 in 1966. I didn’t want to get anything expensive because I could get a Hoover for $49.”
However, after visiting Robert Clinton’s office in Greenville, he found out what the Rainbow was all about. Subsequently, he asked Clinton if he could get a job selling them, and the rest is history.
“I’ve always felt people got their money’s worth after I figured out how much it worked,” he said. “The unique part about a Rainbow is washing the air in the water rather than having bags and filters.”
“‘Wet dust can’t fly’ is our motto,” said Wendel.
When he became a Rainbow salesman, he went door-to-door.
“We had no route; you just go,” he said. “I don’t like to brag, but I’d say it was successful.”
The most he sold in one month was 107 sweepers in 1995 and has a plaque in his shop stating such.
Hiestand, who continues to work at the shop everyday, said this is a family business. In addition to granddaughter Tracy, another granddaughter, Stephanie Leeper, works there, and his son-in-law, Dennis Leeper, has been the serviceman since l983.
They’ve already sold several of the new models, but invite those who wanted to see them at the fair to stop by the shop anytime and check it out or call 937-548-0870.
How did Hiestand get his nickname?
“An old man, Charlie Figel, called me ‘Nubbin’ instead of Nevin and then ‘Nub’ came along,” said Hiestand, son of the late Charles and Minnie Hiestand.
Those at Rainbow Sales and Service said customers come from all over, even out of state, to get a sweeper, and know they can also get it serviced there if needed.
Before he worked for Rainbow, Hiestand was involved in farming and worked at Fram, from where he retired in 1986.
“We had 1400 people working at Fram and about every evening I had a place to show my sweepers,” he said.
The father of five and grandfather and great-father to numerous young people, he plans on working for Rainbow as long as he can. He even plans to come to the fair next year and show off his products and meet the people.
Also available at his shop are various oils and lots of attachments for the sweepers.