From circus performing to carpet cleaning, it’s all in the family for the Ahrharts. Mike and Belinda Ahrhart have been owners of Mike’s Deluxe Services, a carpet and tile cleaning business serving Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice, Florida, for nearly 20 years. The Ahrharts’ dedication to service has earned their business an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, but clients may not know that their dedication to the family business and putting a smile on customers’ faces for a job well done is part of a generation-long family tradition.
“I literally grew up under the Big Top and making people smile was always part of the family profession,” said Mike Ahrhart, owner of Sarasota-based Mike’s Deluxe Services. “As the grandson of Coco the Clown there was a tireless expectation to do good and put smiles on people’s faces.”
Circus life was all Mike Ahrhart knew growing up the great-grandson of Nicolai Poliakoff, the creator of Coco the Clown in the U.K. and prominent advocate for road safety, and grandson of Michael Polakovs, who performed as Coco the Clown in the U.S. and created the post-1960’s Ronald McDonald. For most of his early life Ahrhart led the nomadic life typical of circus-performing families — following his famous grandfather and father, Graham Ahrhart (known as Coco, Jr.), as they performed for audiences around the world. And as he reached adulthood Ahrhart stepped into the clown shoes himself as a fifth-generation circus clown.
Working with Ringling Bros., Ahrhart continued to travel from city to city performing around the U.S. and abroad. At a circus in England he met his future wife Belinda, a dancer who performed dazzling acts with Hula Hoops and peacock feathers. The two married and had their son Alex in 1993.
“Belinda decided to retire her act when Alex was born, but I was still on the road and it was extremely difficult to be apart from my family for weeks at a time,” Ahrhart said. “So I hung up the clown suit while Alex was still young enough for me to be a present husband and father.”
Today the family of three remains a tight unit with Alex, now age 25, working alongside his parents. Belinda is the office manager for Mike’s Deluxe Services, and Mike and Alex perform all the cleaning services from carpet, tile and upholstery cleaning to water extraction from flood damage.
“The new family business may not be as glamorous as the old,” Ahrhart added. “But our goal is still the same: to make people’s days a little brighter.”
To learn more about the Ahrharts and Mike’s Deluxe Services, visit https://mdscarpet.com/
Photos courtesy of the Ahrhart family.