I was very excited for this Knee Deep segment. I met Joe and Kevin, co-owners of Junk King Grand Rapids, when they were in our studio doing a segment with My West Michigan. I was immediately comfortable with the guys, they're really down to earth and easy to talk to. We exchanged information and I knew I wanted to do a story with them. Why? Well.... because they're job seemed so fun and they clearly love what they do!
This is how I felt when we scheduled the story...
Photojournalist extraordinaire, Evan Linnert, and I met at the Junk King warehouse where Joe suited me up with a uniform. There was fresh snow on the ground, and the roads were pretty terrible, but it didn't matter to the Junk Kings. The first thing you notice when walking into their warehouse is their massive truck. It's a beautiful shiny red, and enormous! The truck is equivalent to a 20-yard dumpster.
The first thing they have to do is see what jobs they have for the day. This is how they determine the order in which things are done. On this particular day the truck was already full of recyclable items. Therefore, our first trip was to Padnos Recycling Center.
One of my favorite things about the Junk Kings is how green they are. They recycle as much as possible, so trips to Padnos come at least twice a week. When they make the trip to the recycling center, the truck is full.
The recycling center knows the Junk Kings very well from their frequent visits. After the truck was cleared we were off to the first pick up job. We showed up to the house and the truck maneuvered into a space made easiest to load a washing machine, dryer and a couple other odds and ends. We were in the basement of the house when the Junk Kings started hauling up the washer. It looked very difficult, so I let the professionals deal with this one.
They got to the top of the steps, but then realized the washer was too big for the doorway. No problem! They just took the door off, whisked the washer out, put the door back on and VOILA!
Then we were off to the next house! This was a different kind of pickup. The Junk Kings are contracted through some national names, such as Costco, who use them to pick up items and donate them. This particular item was a mattress still in the plastic. So, the Junk Kings picked up the mattress, played tetris (as they call it), organized the truck some more and left for their next job. After completing all the jobs on the schedule for that day, they returned to the warehouse and sorted the items. Again, staying as green as possible, they reuse/donate anything possible, then separate the rest to either be recycled or taken to the dump.
All in all, this was a great experience. A lot of the items they dealt with were things that were just too big or inconvenient for people to move themselves. To have the man power, the truck and the right attitude goes a long way. The things I took from this experience was that I loved seeing how happy this business made, not only Joe and Kevin, but also their employees. They all get a long really well, and you can tell they have a genuine fondness for what they do.
Thank you, Junk Kings, for letting me tag along!
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the Junk Kings checkout their Facebook page!