Frank Minichiello • 1-888-Scrap98
Frank Minichiello said, “I’ve been
here my whole life.” As the son of Frankie Minichiello, the company’s
founder, he wasn’t exaggerating.
Minichiello said that although his
father was one of the youngest of the Minichiello brothers and
had no more than a sixth-grade education, he was the one who founded
the company over 50 years ago “and brought two of his brothers
into the business.” Over the years, most of the brothers worked
for the company, and Minichiello named them all as an important
part of the company’s heritage: Mickey, Frankie, Johnny, Joe, Carmen,
Tony and Louie.
At first, the company focused on
dismantling battleships and submarines, and then moved on to other
types of scrap. It eventually grew to include two locations, but
like many family-owned businesses, it suffered as the founding
generation grew older, and died or retired.
Minchiello credits his father with
much of his own success. “He taught me a lot, he said, “He taught
me how to work the hard way. He taught me how to work and how much
work goes into making a dollar.”
Minichiello said his first job his
father gave him was when he was little more than a toddler. “He
put a magnet in my hand, and a bucket in the other, and told me
that anything that didn’t stick to the magnet goes into the bucket,”
Later, “I graduated to an axe,”
he said. While there were torches and other cutting equipment available,
his father told him, “you’re going to work with this axe first.”
Minichiello proceeded to cut just about everything he could find
– cars, pipe, sheet – “things they said you couldn’t cut, I chopped
up with that axe.”
Coupled with a bad economy, the
company had shrunk back to a single location and had been closed
for six months when Minichiello and his wife, Tanya, bought the
business about eight years ago. “She’s been by my side,” Minichiello
said, crediting her with much of the business’s success. “I couldn’t
have done it without her.”
Minichiello said he re-started the
business with borrowed money and $5,000 in his pocket, and would
buy scrap at his yard and “run down the street” and sell it to
competitors to get enough money to buy more scrap.
“We went from strictly nonferrous
to doing iron also,” Minichiello said. Now the company again has
two working locations, and Minichiello is considering a third.
“I definitely want to open up a new facility – when the right deal
comes along.” He would like to find a property with a rail siding,
he’s thinking about an auto shredder and is also “tossing around
the idea of putting in a furnace” for irony aluminum. But first,
“we’re putting in a car processing facility,” which will remove
fluids and begin dismantling the cars.
With the scrap market booming, cash
flow is still a challenge, but the figures have more zeros. Before
scrap prices skyrocketed, Minichiello said that $10,000 of business
a day was a good average, but now he sees “$100,000 a day, like
it’s nothing.” He keeps a close eye on the bank and the inventory,
because scrap on the ground is worth a lot. “You’ve got to process
the stuff so fast,” he said.
Even today, Minichiello said that
one of the best parts of the business is that “you get to wreck
stuff.” He said that a good thing about scrap is that it doesn’t
go bad, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, it still has value
and it never spoils. Even so, neatness counts, at least when it
comes to his property. “We keep it clean, we keep it neat, we keep
it swept,” he said.
While Minichiello Brothers is the
business’s original name, the company also is known as “Scrap It”
because, according to Minichiello, “it associates what we do with
who we are.” He said that when people have junk to get rid of,
they say that they want to scrap it, not that they want to “Minichiello
it,” and so far the name has caught on, perhaps helped along by
the thousands of T-shirts he has given to customers with the “Scrap
It” name on the back.