20 Years, 20 Hours & 200
Miles a Day



September 2014 •
Featured Capitalist Archive

Written by Paul Clark | Photos by Anthony Harden


Horace Adell has some big, expensive floor cleaning machines at his business, Clean Streak Inc. in Mills River. But he doesn’t hesitate to get down on his hands and knees to finish a floor so that the job is done right.


“Old school beats new school every time,”Adell said in his office recently, carving precious time out of a busy day for an interview for Capital at Play. Three job offers had come in during the time he’d allotted to talk. And there was much to be done—crews to check on, jobs to price—before his head would hit the pillow that night.


But Adell so believes in honoring his commitments and keeping his appointments that this perpetual motion machine stayed still long enough to talk about the hard work and personal integrity that have made his business a successful, growing enterprise, one that gets stellar results from people that others wouldn’t take a chance on. And it all started 20 years ago, him working alone out of an old Buick, cleaning businesses after his day job was done.


Clean Streak, a green- and biohazard-certified business that cleans offices, banks, clinics, new construction, and rental housing, has employees throughout Western North Carolina. Most of them head out to jobs around 5pm from company headquarters, located in the heart of Mills River farmland, just up the road from the farm where Horace and his wife, Susan Donoho Adell, live.


“When the rest of the world is closing up, we’re just taking off,” Susan, Clean Streak’s vice president, said. The business has 35 employees and could use more, business is so strong, she said. The Adells have plans to open a second Clean Streak business in Myrtle Beach, a city to which they hope to retire. “There’s a lot of work on the coast, and many of the banks we do have locations out there,” Susan said. The company gets a lot of job offers there already. As it is, they already have more than enough to do, something Susan attributes to her husband’s work ethic.


Horace Adell is a big guy. Six-foot-five, powerfully built, he looks far younger than 52, likely because of the heavy equipment he operates to strip, wax, and varnish floors with his crews. Adell expresses himself with his strong hands, and his large presence makes his office, filled with golf paraphernalia (his only hobby, his wife said) and photos of family and friends, seem small. Sitting there with him is to experience activity at rest, a force of nature about to unfurl. Energy seems to swirl around him.


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Couple brings Clean Streak to Horry County


Horry County Business Journal


by Ettie Newlands


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A Labor of Faith

Horace Adell


Interview with

The Journey Christian Newspaper


by Benjamin Curtman


Everything needs to be cleaned from time-to-time. Whether residential, business, or medical; people want to know that the places they work and live are sanitary and visually pleasing. There is a man in Mills River, North Carolina that knows clean, Horace Adell.


His business, Clean Streak Inc., started in 2004 with one man – Horace Adell – cleaning facilities by himself. Armed at the beginning with just basic cleaning supplies and hard work, the company which is trusted by many local businesses now has a large staff of trained professionals.


A good work ethic and quality results are not the only things that motivate Horace. “I’m all about paying it forward. If you are truly about trying to help people — by giving them jobs, for example — and you put God in front first, you’ll make it,” says Horace. For him, Clean Streak Inc. is not only a way to provide for his own family, but also a way to lend a hand to those in need. Throughout the years, Clean Streak Inc. has participated in food drives and other efforts to reach out to the community it serves. If you ask him how this business has grown from one man with a mop and a vacuum to a multi-staffed organization serving Western North Carolina with state-of-the-art services, Horace gives God the credit. By using the small beginnings that he had at the start and investing in people and the community, Clean Streak Inc. has grown leaps and bounds.


Clean Streak Inc. is not the first success that Horace has experienced. As a talented athlete from Fletcher, NC, Horace gave up several university scholarship offers to serve his country as a paratrooper in the United States Army. Horace Adell is known by many people in the community – not as a business owner – but as a mentor.


People who desperately needed work during tough economic times were given a chance to work. During gas crises in recent years, Horace has been known to hand out gas vouchers to those who were in need. “The Bible teaches us that we are to seek out people and opportunities to help. It teaches us that money is a tool to help, and, in return, many blessings will be bestowed upon you. I will not lose sight of that” Horace says. The way of the world is to look out for ‘number one,’ but Clean Streak, Inc. operates on a different set of principles. Horace believes, “As a business owner, I can’t think of self-gain. I have to think about the whole that will benefit.


Article in Asheville




Written by

Jason Sandford


Web Site Article


Cleaning a green blue streak in Asheville.


MILLS RIVER — Horace Adell had a friend once describe him as “the workingest guy I know,” and it’s an apt description.


From the time he graduated high school and turned his back on a possible career in professional sports, Adell has owned his own nightclub and his own landscaping business, and worked as a lumber truck driver and as a house cleaner. From humble beginnings as a one-man cleaning crew, Adell has built Clean Streak Inc., a cleaning company in Mills River, into a robust business with 28 full- and part-time employees who tackle dirty jobs across Western North Carolina.


“I started with a Buick and a mop and bucket,” Adell said. “Oh, and a vacuum.”


Since starting Clean Streak in 2004, Adell has been honored as a successful minority business owner and for his efforts to gain a green business certification. Last year, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce chose Clean Streak as its 2011 Operating Green Business of the Year.


Aside from his boundless energy — Adell is known to get so wrapped up in work that he won’t eat for hours on end — the entrepreneur follows a business philosophy rooted in his values. Spend a few minutes  listening to Adell, and he can sound as much like a preacher as a small-business owner.


“To own a business, you have to ask yourself: Is it for personal gain, or to empower people to make the world a better place? When you figure out which one you are, that determines your outcome,” Adell said.


“I’m all about paying it forward. If you are truly about trying to help people — by giving them jobs, for example — and you put God in front first, you’ll make it.”


Athletics, military


Adell grew up in Fletcher and was a talented high school athlete. A cousin of former star professional basketball player Brad Daugherty, of Black Mountain, Adell said he turned down university scholarship offers to join the military. With service as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, Adell said he gained “the From there, Adell tried his hand at a number of ventures. He owned a nightclub called Club Biltmore, something he simply calls “a mistake.” He started his own landscaping business and he drove lumber trucks for several years. It was during those years that Adell started side work cleaning banks. He would drive long hours, then work through the night cleaning.


Adell finally heeded a friend’s advice — the same friend who told him he was the hardest worker he’d ever seen — and focused solely on his cleaning business.


Focusing on commercial jobs, such as cleaning bank branches, medical facilities and beauty shops, Adell gradually built up his business. He saw customers, and his industry, move toward cleaning methods that go easy on the environment and he earned a green business certification.


“I want my cleaning supplies to be pet-friendly, environmentally-friendly,” Adell said. “Being green means educating your clients and doing things the right way.”


All along the way, Adell kept his community in mind. He offered jobs to people down on their luck. He collected for local food pantries. He gave out gasoline vouchers when gas prices skyrocketed. And he mentored people.


“As a business owner, I can’t think of self gain. I have to think about the whole that  will benefit,” Adell said. “The Bible teaches us that we are to seek out people and opportunities to help. It teaches us that money is a tool to help, and in return, many blessings will be bestowed upon you. I will not lose sight of that.”


Adell’s business has been showing strong growth despite the struggling economy. He’s convinced the way to build a stronger economy is to support small businesses that are willing to give people a shot at a job.


“If you want to help the economy and create jobs, somebody has to be willing to give people a chance,” Adell said, reiterating his philosophy of giving back.


“I’m not driven by money. I’m driven by success stories, by ‘Horace gave me a job and got me off the streets’ stories.”


“It’s my privilege to lead a small group of people to a better way of life,” Adell said. “That gives me such a great reward.”


We are proud to announce that Clean Streak Inc. has been chosen as the Asheville Chamber of Commerce 2011 Operating Green Business of the Year. Along with our Green Business Certification in 2010, we have implemented a recycling program department. Horace Adell of

Clean Streak Inc. continuously educates himself on ways to keep his clients, and his own business environmentally compliant.


2011 Going Green Business Award
from the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce



Carolina Spotlight

Minority Enterprise


Mills River, NC

Clean Streak, Inc.  Coastal Division, Janitor Service, Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach, SC