A license in hand and a purchase of Mecosta Auto Parts in December of 1986, Fair Salvage Yard became a reality. Many trips and many adventures later, all the parts arrived and were shelved. Floyd continued to work at Dow Chemical Company during the day and nights were spent working at Fair Salvage Yard. Steve continued to work nights at Mitchell Corporation and mornings at Fair Salvage Yard. Rich, Steve’s younger brother who was in high school, spent his hours after school working in the yard also.
I lived next to the Yard, so I began by answering phones and meeting customers and learning the parts books (I was not even interested in how parts fit to one another). I was just interested in the car I was driving, running! I also learned how to do the shop financial records and many other things. My self-confidence grew and I discovered that I could do many things that I didn’t even have a clue I could do (like helping to load cars with a loader). Driving a huge piece of machinery to help someone get unstuck in the mud was a challenge, but those first few years, every talent was used to help the business.
Laughter, anger, and frustration as the family worked together to grow the business.
Disappointment and excitement came-one in the process of putting up a required fence around the business. One afternoon-after everyone had left or went home, I put some papers in the burning barrel to burn. I was in the bathroom when I heard this crackling sound. I began to investigate and discovered that the wind had come up and some of the papers had blown onto the pile of fence boards and the boards were on fire. No neighbors were home. By the time I called the fire department, the field was on fire. A good thing—no cars for parts had caught on fire.
Steve always liked tearing things apart better than putting things together, so the first time a car crushing company came in to crush our cars and pick up our tin, a new idea was born.
Those first few years were quite an adventure. In the spring, we had mud. In the fall, we had mud. A few people remember! Tons of additional gravel and crushed concrete have been added over the years, but before that was MUD! It went from the back of the main office building to yonder.