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hen Burgandi Carr drives home from work each

night, she oen makes a few stops along the way.

“I live in Albia (Iowa), which is about 30 miles

from here, and there is a small town between us,” explained

Carr, the general manager for Van Gorp Auto Recyclers in

Oskaloosa, Iowa. “So I o€er to deliver parts to customers from

those towns on my way home, just to make it a little more

convenient to them. We also o€er to stay open a little later by

appointment for those that can’t quite make it here by ve dur-

ing the weekdays.”

‚is kind of attention to customer service is one reason

Van Gorp Auto Recyclers has been in business for more than

50 years. ‚e company was founded in Pella, Iowa in 1962 by

Marion Van Gorp (better known as “Junior”) and his brother,

Dirk Van Gorp.

“(Junior) was rebuilding cars, and to make more money

from doing so, he decided to sell the parts that were le over

from the rebuilders, knowing that there was a market for that

stu€,” Carr explained.

Legal troubles with the city of Pella in 1963 forced the

company to move to Oskaloosa. In 1965, Dirk and Junior set

up shop in the location that the business still occupies today.

“One of Dirk and Junior’s friends had told them about this

site being for sale,” Carr said. “It was actually the ideal place for

a salvage yard.”

‚e business was one of the rst salvage yards in Iowa and

the Van Gorps helped to develop the auto salvage industry

throughout the state. Dirk and Junior helped set up the state’s

rst “hoot and holler” line, a system to locate parts statewide.

Junior still owns the company but Dirk sold his share and

opened his own business. “(Dirk) has since retired but stops by

the shop a few times a week to say hi,” Carr added.

Carr joined the company in 2007 as a counter salesperson

and became Van Gorp Auto Recyclers’ general manager in

2011. Since Carr took the manager position, she has overseen a

reorganization process and the building of a new o!ce space.

“‚e o!ce before was kind of a ‘catch all,’ so we cleaned all

the junk and miscellaneous parts out of it, rearranged some

shelves and added a new o!ce,” she said. “Now the "oors are

swept and the counters are cleaned every day, which makes it a

lot more presentable.”

Carr’s new o!ce was built about a year ago.

“It is a 14-by-12-foot area that overlooks the front lot, so

it makes a great place for me to be able to look out and see

people looking at the vehicles we have for sale,” she explained.

“We took out the wall between my old o!ce and the new, and

they are joined together. We use the old o!ce for car sales.”

Carr believes Van Gorp Auto Recyclers stands apart from

other yards because of its longevity in the industry.

“We have been in business for so long that we have been able

to see the highs and lows over the years,” she said. “For starters,

the highs and lows of scrap prices, those are obviously always

changing. ‚ere have been years that were so low that we just

sat on our inventory and not crushed until the next year when

prices were really good. Also, years ago you never had to deal

with all these aermarket companies as competition. Now it is

a struggle trying to compete with their prices.”

Despite the ups and downs, many of Van Gorp Auto

Recyclers’ employees have been with the company for 20 years

or more.

“Don’t get me wrong, we have hired a few that haven’t

worked out, but you will have that anywhere,” Carr said. “We

are a very down-to-earth group of people who all know what,

when and how things need to be done.”





Burgandi Carr and Junior

Van Gorp make sure Van Gorp

Auto Recyclers lives up to its

reputation as an institution in

Iowa auto recycling.