Sandy Blalock has been a longtime advocate for the automotive recycling industry. In her new role as executive director with ARA, Blalock answers key questions on the future of the association and the salvage industry.
Small businesses are more likely to give back to their communities that their larger counterparts. This holds true for mom-and-pop auto recyclers like Brunswick Auto Recycling, Chuckran Auto Parts, M.L. Norwood Auto Recycling, L&M Salvage, U.S. Auto and Shipman Auto.
There’s excitement in the air these days at Nordstrom’s Automotive, Inc. in Garretson, S.D. The nearly 50-year-old auto recycling business recently unveiled a multimillion dollar facelift five years in the making and the results are - in a word - life-changing.
On July 19, 2018 a tornado ripped through Marshalltown, Iowa, destroying homes and businesses in its path, including Action Auto Parts. The Iowa Automotive Recyclers (IAR) association shared news from Action Auto Parts Owner David Hesmer that he is working with what he has to continue to keep the doors open.
When the local high school needs a car as a prop for their school musical, they go to Erie Auto Salvage. When the local fire department needs a car to practice on, they head to Erie Auto. And when customers all over want a friendly face and a warm reception, they, too, turn to Erie Auto. This Colorado yard is known for its friendliness, community spirit and, importantly, having the right part.
It was a picturesque lake and plenty of family memories that sold Jody and Zara Harper on Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Not only did they enjoy visiting there, the couple decided it was ideal for the newest location of their family business, Harper’s Salvage, Sales & Service. Now they’re firmly entrenched in a successful enterprise that’s in a neighboring state from the original location.
Sure, you could dismantle four to five cars a day by hand. Or, you could process up to 70 a day with the raw power and delicate precision of the KOBELCO SK210D. That’s what Texas Auto Salvage of San Antonio is doing. The company purchased its first SK210D in October 2017 and quickly ordered a second unit one month later.
With just six cars on opening day, and 35 acres of land, Stanley Kingsley had a lot of ground to cover. It would take a little while, but with hard work, perseverance and a family that stood behind him - and ultimately staffed the business - 135 Auto in Mauckport, Ind. would grow to be a family legacy. Today, it’s one of the largest auto recycling yards in Indiana and involves three generations.
In the southeastern corner of Missouri, in the part of the state that resembles a boot heel, you’ll find the last of the agricultural tractor recycling start-ups. Named for the location’s unique shape on the map, Bootheel Tractor Parts was started by Shawn Archie in 1999 out of a shop at his house. Fast forward 18 years, and Bootheel is a thriving business employing 22, and occupying a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and dismantling bay in a town of 3,000 known as East Prairie.
Spend just a few minutes with David Gold, and you can’t help but admire his energy and enthusiasm. It’s what has helped to propel this highly respected and seasoned recycler to the helm of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), where he earned the title of president this past November. Currently, David is Executive Vice President and President of Fenix Parts Canada. Like many others, he grew up in the industry, and now he’s fully prepared to give back. We spent 15 minutes with David recently to find out what’s in store during his term.
When Bob Fiegleman graduated with a business degree from Penn State, he had dreams of turning his passion for fun and laughter into a career as a comedian and writer. Instead, he founded Morgan Highway Auto Parts in Scranton, Pa. Would things have worked out differently if Bob’s dad had been in the entertainment business rather than the scrap business? Who knows? Thankfully the people of Scranton, as well as anyone with access to a phone or the Internet, can do business with Bob when they need to buy used auto parts and vehicles. And, if a customer is lucky enough to speak with Bob on the phone, they’re sure to get a couple of laughs too.
Tim McMillon wants to spread the word about the Takata airbag recall – even if it means talking to just one Honda driver at a time.
Tim McMillon wants to spread the word about the Takata airbag recall – even if it means talking to just one Honda driver at a time. McMillon, the President and CEO of M & K Used Auto Parts, Inc., in Orange City, Fla., said that whenever he sees someone driving a Honda – usually a customer at his yard – he’ll ask if they’ve checked to see if there is a recall on the vehicle’s airbag.
Mark Duncan took the plunge into four-wheeling back in 1987, building his first jeep and heading out on an adventure like he’d never experienced before. It was a pivotal moment for Mark, who until then had just been selling Jeep parts. He finally understood what the fuss was all about. Now as president of J & W Auto Wreckers, Inc. in Antelope, Calif., he’s sharing his passion for Jeeps with his sons, Neil and Spencer, the third generation in this family business.
Whitey’s Wrecking, Inc. of Spokane, Wash., has operated under one simple motto for three generations: Honesty pays.
Owner Dustin Koerper, grandson of company founder Marvin “Whitey” Koerper, remembers how his grandfather had that motto stamped onto the covers of matchbooks that he would hand out to customers.
To an untrained eye, the ‘49, ‘50 and ‘51 Chevy look pretty similar. But Brandon Prihoda, co-owner of RPM Classic Parts in Albert Lea, Minn., can point out the little differences - from the fender trim to the grill. And knowing RPM Classic Parts, it’s more than likely that Prihoda has those parts in stock. This classic parts business is the “go to” place for vehicles and parts from the 1930s to the 1960s.
NSF International, a global organization with more than 70 years of independent product testing, auditing and certification expertise, has issued its first automotive recycler certification to PAM’s Auto, located in St. Cloud, Minn. PAM’s Auto met all requirements for NSF International automotive recycler certification including traceability, labeling and grading.
The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) announced that ARA member facility Cunningham Brothers Auto Parts, in Rustburg, Va. (www.cunningham-brothers.com), was recently named a GM Supplier of the Year by General Motors. The Cunningham family has been direct members of ARA for more than 25 years. This is the second time Cunningham Brothers has received the award.
Fenix Parts, Inc. announced third quarter 2016 results on March 28, 2017. The company reported consolidated net revenues of $32.5 million for third quarter of 2016, compared to $34.2 million in second quarter 2016 and $32.2 million on a combine pro forma basis in the third quarter of 2015.
Ray’s Auto Parts, Inc. in Amboy, Ind. has been received the Indiana Clean Yard-Gold Level award. Bruno Pigott, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), presented Michael Hierholzer, owner of Ray’s Auto Parts with the award in March.
The first thing you might notice about 422 Auto Sales, Inc. is its great expanse of concrete. Almost 90 percent of the 25-acre yard is covered in the resilient material. But it’s the out-of-state license plates in the customer lot that might cause you to take a second look. 422 Auto Sales may be located in northeastern Ohio but the yard gets plenty of traffic from New York, Pennsylvania and other locations hundreds of miles away.
Years ago I wrote about why parts are returned, and the benefits a more accurate parts ordering process would have for industry stakeholders. While quality was third out of the top five reasons for the overall return rate, it has come to our company’s attention that oftentimes the recycler decides a part is not up to standards and vetoes the sale without ever letting the customer weigh in.
Thirty percent growth for a company for one year is pretty good. Thirty percent growth year-after-year is outstanding. When George Trunyan started his auto recycling facility, Benzeen Auto Parts (formerly TLS Auto Recycling) in Rancho Cordova, Calif., in 2010 it made $600,000 the first year. Today, Trunyan expects to close with $4.4 million. The growth is due to Trunyan’s experience with finance and his willingness to take some risks.
Neil Morris knows scrap. He’s the third generation of the Morris family to be in the scrap business. His grandfather, Earl Morris, started Morris Scrap Metal Company, Inc. in Kings Mountain, N.C. in 1931. Neil’s father Jerry Morris runs that business today. Neil got his start there and is now vice president. But, auto recycling runs just as deep in his veins.
Being green isn’t a fad for Ken Freeman, owner of East West Auto Parts, Inc. in Tulsa, Okla., it’s a lifestyle. So when Freeman decided to build an auto recycling facility from the ground up, he knew he wanted it to be efficient, use recycled materials and have a minimal impact on the environment surrounding it.
Big improvements at Nordstrom’s Automotive, Inc., in Garretson, S.D., are progressing. The company’s $4.5 million in updates are in the next stage. One year ago Nordstrom’s celebrated the opening of the business’ new paved road and now, the company is laying foundation for its first new building and readying for other facility upgrades.
In the mid 1950’s Art Frasik made the move from Chicago, Ill., to Middletown, Ohio, to start a car dealership. After a few years of selling cars, Art and his wife, Mary, started a family, and their son, Tony, recalled that his father had a good idea. “I just remember that he had this bright idea that he was going to open a salvage yard. So he bought some property and here we are.”
Colorado Auto & Parts has been in business since 1959 and Alice Corns has led the business her father founded for more than 30 years of that time. But, events during just 10 days in August have fulfilled more dreams for the company then Alice thought possible.
Chasing down the right part for that classic vehicle is all in a day’s work at B & R Auto Parts. They even proved it a couple of years ago when they appeared on an episode of CNBC’s television show “Car Chasers,” the show that finds any excuse to fix and flip a classic car. In the episode, the “Car Chasers” crew arrived at B & R Auto Parts in Lubbock, Texas, searching for an elusive part for a 1971 Firebird 400.
Sixty-six years ago Jim Stepp founded Stepp’s Towing Service as a gas station with one truck. Since then, the company has grown to 13 towing locations, as well as an environmental response company, a tire company and a transport company that covers 48 states. In 2011, in the face of relocation, the Stepps added an auto recycling facility to their growing list of companies.
Late one night last January, Brian Frink received an ominous phone call from his auto recycling facility’s alarm company. Alarms had detected motion at Mecca Auto Salvage & Recycling, Inc. (www.meccasalvage.com), the company he manages in Rockville, Ind. He quickly called his father, Aaron Frink, who owns Mecca Auto Salvage & Recycling and lives close to the business. Aaron looked in the direction of the facility and saw flames.
The best ideas seem to just happen. Like, who would have planned to pair an automobile and an airplane and build something completely different? Gary Corns, of Colorado Auto & Parts in Englewood, Colo., that’s who. The thought came to him while he was digging through a local airplane salvage yard for a completely different project - customizing the company’s 1956 Ford Vanette. The van, used as a rolling billboard for the company, has a tricked out interior that looks like an airplane interior.
An auto recycling facility may not be the first business one thinks of when imagining the Twin Cities Metro area. But, a facility that continues to grow and thrive, offers a lifetime warranty on most of its parts, and is a valued member of its community, is what you’ll find at A-Abco Fridley Auto Parts.
It’s not easy being green. But Chris Sargent will tell you it is very worthwhile. The owner of Hwy. 62 Auto Salvage & Sales, Inc. (www.62autoparts.com) in Fayetteville, Ark., prides himself on running a green business in an industry that naturally is built on the recycle / re-use mindset.
Having three different parts of a business is a decided advantage, according to Lisa Bartz of Kramer’s Auto Parts & Iron Co., Inc. in Grand Island, Neb. “When one slows down, the others keep you busy!”
The story of Allgeier Auto Parts, Inc., can be told in “before” and “after” photos. During the “before” era - the years prior to 2007 - the Cincinnati, Ohio yard was a typical “junkyard,” said Manager Kevin Walsh. “Everything was just scattered everywhere,” he said. “It was a muddy, farmer’s field. There was no sense of order with any of the cars.” After a major cleanup and organization, which started in 2007 and is still ongoing, the yard has been completely transformed.
Fifty years is a long time to do anything. Fifty years with a look towards the next fifty is a feature few businesses can boast these days, but Chesney Auto Salvage in Duluth, Minn., is doing just that. This year marks Chesney’s 50th year of business since it was first opened by Jerry Chesney in 1965, and with two daughters and a grandson on staff, the future of Chesney Auto Salvage looks bright.
Can a company that’s been in business since the 1920s still survive in today’s industry? Bill Smith Auto Parts, Inc., which has been in business for 86 years, isn’t merely surviving in 2015. It’s thriving.
Two auto recyclers were given the honor of given ARA Lifetime Achievement Awards. Gary Beagell, of Gary’s U-Pull-It, Inc. in Binghamton, N.Y. and Paul Davis, of A-Plus Parts & Salvage, Inc. in Wichita, Kan., received the awards at the 72nd ARA Annual Convention and Exposition in Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 9, 2015.
Greg Weaver is finally back at home. Weaver grew up in Florida and lived there until 2009, when he moved north to help his father, Bill Weaver, grow All Metal Auto Recycling, a business they co-own in Danville, Va. The father-son team also co-owns Weaver Industrial Equipment, also located in Danville.
There are 15 auto recycling facilities in Cleveland County, North Carolina. But Standridge Auto Parts in Shelby, N.C. stands out as something special. In a male-dominated industry, it’s a facility run by three women.
There’s nowhere to go but up for Omar Wahid. He is the president of Gray & White Used Parts Company, based in Carrollton, Ga., which just opened its fourth location in June 2015. In less than 20 years the company has quadrupled in size at a steady pace. His employees claim that success is because of how Omar runs the business.
What do you do when you are faced with the worst winter in recorded history? Well, if you’re Dan Warila, owner of Nationwide Auto Recycling LLC in Lancaster, Mass., the solution is to install solar panels on the roof of your giant building. Dan has spent his entire life in the auto recycling business, an industry that by definition is one committed to sustaining a greener planet, so he wasn’t about to let a little record snowfall get in his way.
What would cause eight industry-leading, successful, auto recycling companies to join together and form a new conglomerate? It is the love of auto recycling and the ability to enhance the experience for their customers.
Auto recycling is unlike any other sect of the automotive industry. It is not one-size-fits-all; two identical parts can have different amounts of damage, wear, warranty, price, etc. Because it can’t be pigeonholed, the industry sometimes takes a beating in the public eye.
Zane Malcom always knew the “front side” of the auto recycling business, how to core motors, dismantle vehicles and sell to customers. But the co-owner of H & H Auto Parts, LLC credits his focus on the “back side” for the company’s recent success.
In 1935, all 48 states were suffering the effects of the Great Depression. The United States had not yet entered World War II. And, the Brainerd Municipal Airport was still located on Henry Rosko’s airfield. This was also the year that Charley Shipman opened a used auto parts store in Brainerd, Minn., named Oak Street Auto Parts. In 80 years a lot has changed, but Charley Shipman’s store lives on.
For the past 10 years, the Beckman family thought about opening an auto recycling facility. After all, they already had a used car dealership in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. Auto recycling seemed like a natural fit.
Brothers Steve and Mike Shaver started their company with a simple philosophy - they wanted to “fight for their right” to improve the auto recycling industry, beat the competition - and have a good time doing it.
When the cars line up at the New Egypt Speedway on a Saturday night, chances are that Darryl Carman and a few of his family members are there. As president of Lentini Auto Salvage in Ringoes, N.J., he might be cheering on the racecar his company has sponsored. Or he might be watching one of his kids compete. He might even be driving himself. In fact, racing is as much a part of the Carman family legacy as is the family business, and that’s not a bad thing, according to Carman.
One of the most important things to remember about INCARES is that it is for ALL Indiana recyclers that are devoted to doing it right. It is not only for big facilities with shiny fences and new crushers.
It’s not unusual for auto recycling facilities to offer more than just used parts. But Bubba Kaiser and Stephen Edwards, co-owners of Natchez Salvage & Parts, in Natchez, Miss., take diversification to the next level. Their facility boasts a self-service facility, repair shop, car lot and scrap scales, along with its full-service side.
Northlake Auto Recyclers, Inc. doesn’t see a lot of retail traffic in its location in Hammond, Ind. That’s a shame, because customers are missing out on all of the updates and improvements that owner Marty Hollingshead has made in recent years.
Today’s marketplace of vehicles is comprised of an electric array of makes and models from various beleaguered manufacturers around the world. No matter where or how they are constructed, these vehicles will eventually reach the end of their useful lives.
It’s just a coincidence that the family that owns G & R Auto Parts has an environmentally friendly name. Consider that very appropriate - since the Greene family was “going green” at their Oklahoma City, Okla. recycling yard even before it was fashionable.
PAM's Auto, Inc. in St. Cloud, Minn. can now say it holds company with Microsoft, 3M Co., General Mills and the Mayo Clinic. That's because all four of these companies made the Minneapolis / St. Paul Star Tribune's 2011 Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota (StarTribune.com/topworkplaces2011). The Star Tribune published the annual list in the June 19, 2011 edition. PAM's Auto was ranked 24th in the list's small business category.
The building at Sambucci Bros., Inc., in Flushing, N.Y., is so nice that sometimes customers drive right by it. That’s despite its brightly lit signage - four-foot letters displayed prominently on three sides of the brick and glass building.