There once was a little boy who grew into a young man. This young man had a dream. One day, he approached his dad…
“I have an idea. Do you think it will work?”
And here is where the story of Fair Salvage Company all began…
That young man was Steve. If you have ever visited Fair Salvage, you’ve probably seen him and maybe even talked to him. That dream for Steve was to open a car parts business.
Steve approached his dad, Floyd, one day with this idea. The family had what it needed to get started, a garage and land. The next step was talking to mom and getting her to sign off on the idea. After Sharlene gave her stamp of approval, Floyd and Steve gained the permission of their neighbors and then getting approval from the township and county. Finally, they were all fingerprinted for their state license and were ready to go.
Fair Salvage Company became a reality in December of 1986. Many long days followed for both Floyd and Steve. Both working their regular jobs as well as spending hours at Fair Salvage.
Sharlene and Floyd lived next to the yard. This meant that Sharlene got really good at stepping out of her comfort zone and learned many new things. She answered phones, met with customers, learned how to look up parts, kept the financial records, as well as many other things.
Those beginning years, everyone pitched in. Shared talents they already possessed and gained new ones along the way. Laughter, anger and frustration went hand-in-hand as the family worked together to grow the business.
Things began to change one morning in July of 1992. Unknown to FSC, Mid-Michigan Recycling had closed on the first. FSC had customers lined up down the gravel road. The more customers who came, the higher the piles of scrap grew. FSC did not have cranes at the time, so the process was very labor intensive.
By 1998, the road outside the yard was paved. But, getting to that point was tedious! To encourage customers to bring their scrap to the yard while the road work was going on, FSC had weekly drawings of $25 for those brave customers who fought the construction. There was also a monthly drawing for $100 held as well to give back to customers during this period of time.
In 1998, steel prices dropped and remained so for almost four years. The family wondered many times if they should keep the doors open as the employees went from twenty-two down to six. The number of hours put in by the family and Jim were extremely taxing.
The fall of 2003 rolled around and with-it steel prices began to climb a bit. Employees were added to process material. Things were beginning to look up.
Prayers were answered. By the end of February in 2004, FSC had customers lined up down the road again. There were new customers as well as those returning. The yard was so busy that traffic had to be directed.
Times were tough during the drop in steel pricing for many salvage yards in the area. Unlike FSC, many closed their yards which caused this influx of customers. So much so, that FSC had to limit customers to 125 per day.
Things in Clare were growing and we were able to add a couple more locations to our family. First, we opened up our Chase yard near Reed City. That was back in mid-2006. Since that yard went well, we added our Montcalm yard the beginning of 2010. This yard is in Sheridan.
In May of 2020, we installed an onsite shredder in Clare. This was a blessing in so many ways. We could now generate more scrap steel to sell which in turn allows us to provide very competitive pricing for our customers.
A second generation of Fair children have now joined the team. Jon and his wife Kayli are an integral part of the running of the company. Many stories can be told throughout the years. Ones that will bring laughter or tears. Sometimes even both. But one thing is for certain. This is a family run business that has not come between family members. A true blessing indeed.
To all the faithful customers who have stuck with FSC through the good, bad and ugly. You are appreciated more than you will ever know. If you have never visited a FSC location, please consider doing so in the future. We look forward to seeing you soon.