Room To Move
B & R Auto Wrecking To Open Its 11th Location
PHOTO: Karl Maasdam
B & R Auto Wrecking is a large company with a mom-and-pop feel. Headquartered in Corvallis, Ore., B & R Auto Wrecking boasts an impressive 10 locations in Oregon, Washington and Nevada. An 11th is set to open near Las Vegas, Nev. by the end of the year. The company employs 220 workers and processes 10,000 vehicles a year, but the owners and managers maintain the friendly, down-to-earth attitude that one would expect to find in a small, family-run business.
“We try to know every employee’s name and treat them fairly,” said Brian Perlenfein, who co-owns the company with his parents, Rick and Konnie Perlenfein. “Most employees have my cell phone number and know my kids’ names. It’s not like my dad is some suit and tie sitting up in an office somewhere. We don’t hire managers who aren’t hands-on people.”
The Corvallis location opened in 1960; Rick purchased it in 1980. Brian came on board in 1999 after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in marketing.
“I realized the auto salvage business was probably the most exciting and unique business to be in,” Brian expressed. “There were lots of opportunities to do fun thingsand to grow the business with my dad.”
B & R Auto Wrecking added additional locations throughout Oregon in the mid-1990s and expanded into Washington in 2006. The company added its first Las Vegas location last year, and another will open just outside Las Vegas, in Henderson, Nev., by November or December.
The addition of the Las Vegas locations, Brian said, makes it easier to serve large markets such as Phoenix, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
Each location has its own site manager, and they all report to Business Development Manager Jeff Helget, who travelsfrom location-to-location. Brian said he relies on these managers to communicate the company’s goals and values. “With so many locations now, it does get a little more challenging to know each and every employee’s name and have them know us and what our goals are,” Brian shared. “In the same breath, that’s why we try to hire the right managers who will pass that along.”
In fact, Brian said the company’s employees are the driving force behind B & R Auto Wrecking’s incredible growth.
“We’ve been fortunate to have good employees who want to grow, and that makes it easy for us to want to grow as well,” he said. “Our people want to learn new markets and take on new challenges.”
Potential employees are evaluated carefully to be sure they are a perfect fit for the company.
“We don’t settle for the first person who applies,” Brian declared. “We make sure they fit our same outlook on how to treat people and our work ethic. Those people attract the same kind of people.”
“That leads to lower turnover,” he added, “so we don’t always have to look for somebody and we have experienced employees. Their experience makes us good at what we do. There’s a snowball effect that way.”
B & R Auto Wrecking’s recent growth isn’t limited to its 11 locations. The company also has a thriving e-commerce business that ships parts worldwide. Customers find B & R Auto Wrecking parts through listings on the company website, on eBay and on The Locator’s online parts search at www.partslocator.com.
“Customers might not go to the local wrecking yard like they did 20 years ago,” Brian said. “They get off work, they go home, and they go on line, they go on eBay.”
Extra, professional touches have helped the company’s e-commerce business succeed. For example, the company posts online photos of 99 percent of its parts, so customers always know exactly what they’re getting. All parts are shipped in custom-made cardboard boxes featuring the company’s name. Inside, customers will find a postcard thanking them for buying from B & R Auto Wrecking. Innovative ideas like this have helped the company to grow, and Brian said the growth will continue; more locations are definitely in the plans.
“We always want to take it to another level,” Brian said. “We want to be leaders in the industry and try to think outside the box.”