Top Hat Chimney Sweep of Sumter, which was founded in October 1983 by Matt and Linda Matmiller, is celebrating its 35th anniversary.
Over the years, the Matmillers expanded their services to Lee, Kershaw and Clarendon counties.
In October 2017, the Matmillers sold the company to Jay and Erica Christmas of Sumter. Jay's brother, Mark Christmas, is married to the Matmillers' daughter, Lisa Christmas.
"When we had the opportunity to own Top Hat Chimney Sweep it gave me an opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than owning a business," Erica Christmas said. "It gave me the opportunity to help others make their house a home; a place of safety, love, family, laughter and memories."
Although they no longer own the company, the Matmillers still play a role in the business.
"We still value their (the Matmillers') opinion and expertise even though they're not involved day to day," Erica Christmas said. "My husband was trained by Mr. Matmiller. We call him (Matt Matmiller) every so often, and he'll come and help with jobs."
The Matmillers owned the business for 34 years before selling it to the Christmases.
"They did some of it together," Erica Christmas said of the Matmillers. "They would clean chimneys together."
Now, Erica Christmas handles administrating, phone calls and marketing while her husband makes appointments.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it, of people inviting us into their homes," Erica Christmas said. "It's special to me because my house burned down in 1991, so I want to circle back around and help other people protect their homes from that. A fire can only ruin material possessions, but when we are safe in our home, we are free to experience the love and laughter of family; that is one of the most important things in the world to me and why I am honored when customers call us to clean your chimneys."
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