When Kellie Lechuga’s husband Henry Lechuga suffered multiple strokes two years ago, she had to step in to run the franchise business that the couple started in 2010 – Rainbow Restoration of San Diego County.
“Once Henry had to leave the business, there was a very large hole,” Lechuga said. “I didn’t necessarily know how to run the operations or run the business the way he did so I had to find people who knew more than I did.”
If that wasn’t enough, Lechuga had to deal with taking over the business when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worse.
“That was probably the most difficult time, being able to be brave and have the courage to be able to show up during all that uncertainty and at the same time being able to help my husband with the therapy he needed,” Lechuga said. “For me, it was either you decide to quit or you just dig in and decide if it was something that I was going to continue.”
With her husband on the mend but officially retired, she decided to keep going.
“There were times when I really wanted to give up,” Lechuga said. “At the same time, I really enjoyed what we were doing for people.”
Lechuga specializes in repairing homes damaged by flooding, fires and other calamities.
“Anyone who has a disaster in their home, it’s very big deal,” Lechuga said. “People become overwhelmed by what has happened, how to remediate the problem, how to restore their home back again.”
Typically, residential water damage is caused by broken pipes or water supply lines to refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines.
Every so often, Lechuga said she comes across something unexpected.
“One recently was somebody who brought a hose in from outside to actually clean their carpet and left behind a lot of water in the walls and underneath cabinets. It was a real mess for them,” Lechuga said.
Gerald “Buggie” Dugger became a strong supporter of Lechuga after her team cleaned up the mess in his house when a dishwasher exploded in the kitchen and again when a roof leaked, sending torrents of water into a bedroom.
“She came out herself and inspected everything and absolutely blew my mind with the service they provided,” Dugger said, right down to cleaning up after the family dog.
“They asked for a bag, cleaned up the mess, and took care of it. That wasn’t their responsibility,” Dugger said. “Her team came in, made sure they wore booties the entire time, just talked us through the process, explaining what they were doing when they were doing it.”
Lechuga recently expanded to include restoration of commercial property and Lechuga said she plans to grow that side of the business.
As a woman running a business, Lechuga said that she’s sometimes under estimated. “They do not believe that I understand what it takes to do restoration or reconstruction,” Lechuga said. “You quickly overcome it but people are just not accustomed to not having a man in the role of doing restoration.”
Lechuga and her husband started their franchise of Rainbow Restoration in the garage of their Escondido home with two vans “and a garage full of equipment” after her husband lost his contracting job during the Great Recession, Lechuga said.
“We ran it out of the house for over a year,” Lechuga said. “It wasn’t unusual to have employees sleeping on the floor during a weather event. They would be at the house at all hours of the day and night.”
With Kellie Lechuga at the helm, the franchise has grown to have a full-time staff of 16 and expects to reach $2 million in revenue in 2022. Her husband has officially retired.
Rainbow Restoration of San Diego County
CEO: Kellie Lechuga
Business: Commercial and residential restoration services
Notable: Kellie Lechuga’s background was in marketing before she and her husband, Henry, formed their restoration business.