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Get to Know the Water Treatment Experts at Culligan of Charleston

Portrait of a woman drinking a glass of water at home, Culligan of Spokane


Ken Holtzhouser was seeking a professional change early in 2020 after years of managing local grocery stores. “I was looking for the kind of business environment where you are providing a product, and something you could be proud of, and that’s a part of everybody’s life.” He found what he was looking for when he became general manager of Culligan of Charleston (IL) in March. We spoke with Ken about how Culligan treats local water problems and why customers are so grateful for the help.


Your branch serves 11 counties in east central Illinois. What are the most common products you sell to customers with municipal water?


We’ve got some extremely hard water, and people are suffering with a lot of build up, so water softeners are popular. We sell reverse osmosis filtration, which offers a level of clean water coming out of a tap that almost seems too good to be true. We are also seeing a ramp up in ultraviolet (UV) systems that will decontaminate water.


What products are popular with your well water customers?


Largely the same, though there are differences in the size of the units or the severity of the filtration. There are contaminants in the water that people are frankly very unaware of. We will test hardness level and a few other chemical levels, and people are very surprised when things like arsenic show up in their water. It’s more prevalent than you might think.


I would say one of the most common contaminants we run into is iron. It’s the kind of thing that customers sort of shrug and think that’s just how it’s supposed to be until they get a chance to be educated about it. Iron damages plumbing and causes staining. People don’t realize what it’s doing to their dishes or their clothes, and they’re buying a lot of soaps in an attempt to fix something they don’t realize is a problem specifically with the water.


What generally triggers customers to finally contact you?


Typically it’s their senses. It’s what they see, what they taste, what they smell, or what they feel that prompts a call to us to figure out what we can do to make it right. It’s an emotional response to their water, and it’s an emotional response to our service once we’re able to demonstrate the difference.


Can you describe some of the feedback you get from customers?


They’re very appreciative. They love how the water feels on their skin. Customers who have reverse osmosis or our bottled water for coolers have an excitement over how clean the water tastes and the feeling of not having to go to the grocery store for a 12-pack of water. It’s good to have products you can really stand behind and believe in.


Does your branch have a number of long-term customers?


We do. The best thing about it is if you carry yourself honestly and professionally with your product, you will build up the kind of trust that will make a customer for life.

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