The 16th of 17 children born in West Baltimore, Weiner grew up in a foster family in Forest Park because of his parents' financial struggles. "There were really good people and took good care of me," he said of his foster parents.
When Weiner was a young man looking for work, a Hoover vacuum repairman came to his foster family's residence one day and suggested he apply for a job at the Hoover headquarters in downtown Baltimore.
"I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. I started selling and fixing for Hoover, going on service calls to different neighborhoods," Weiner said. "I discovered I have a knack for this kind of work."
A few years later, Hoover discontinued the service component of its operations across the country. Weiner knew he had a growing customer base, so he took out a $1,500 bank loan and opened his own vacuum retail and service store at Park Heights and Belvedere avenues.
"People knew me and came to me because the Hoover people gave them my name," he said. "I was scared that the business wouldn't work out, but it did."
Eventually, Weiner moved his business to its current location. Although he has downsized his store in recent years and vacuums have grown in complexity, Weiner said the business has changed little across the years.
Today, he said his business is about 70 percent service and parts and approximately 30 percent in sales of vacuums. The clientele base for Weiner's Vacs is primarily in Northwest Baltimore, but customers come from across the region.
"I don't think I've ever really had a bad time," Weiner said. "Business has always been pretty good. I'm not a millionaire, but I make an honest living and was able to raise three children."
A major reason he attributes for that success was building trust. "We don't hustle people," Weiner said. "You can sell expensive machines but when people want a good machine to use, why not sell them something simple that's reasonable? If people want a more expensive machine, let them decide. But if someone wants a lightweight vacuum, why waste their time?"
Many people today, especially younger customers, tend to purchase vacuums and discard them a couple of years later when problems arise, Weiner said. But he said a good vacuum should last 10-15 years with proper maintenance.
"Big business is taking over and trying to get people to buy vacuums and not repair them but just replace them," Weiner said. "Some customers are naïve. They throw out a $200 vacuum that just needs a belt."
He believes his daughter will continue to provide customers with good service that is affordable and honest.
"We must be doing something right. We're still here," Weiner said. "Years ago, my wife and I went to a show. When the lights came up, a lady said, `Weiner, that vacuum you fixed for us is not working!' I said to her, `Can we talk Monday?' Still, one every half-century, that ain't bad, is it?"