- The Washington Times - Monday, December 2, 2002

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) In Brian Scudamore's vision of the future, the next great North American brand in the mold of Starbucks and Federal Express will be boldly colored trucks that haul away your junk.
The name 1-800-GOT JUNK? also is the phone number for an expanding network of franchises that turn trash to cash by getting rid of all that unwanted stuff accumulated over the years.
Got 18,000 sardine cans past the expiration date? No problem. The haulers from 1-800-GOT-JUNK? have handled it all, from discarded boats and frozen animal carcasses to prosthetic devices that prompted wisecracks about charging "an arm and a leg."
It is a modern model for one of the oldest urban services, with friendly, clean-cut workers in shining trucks replacing the grimy, grizzled junk men in ramshackle carts of yore.
With 27 established franchises and 23 on the way, the company of 400 employees and a projected $7 million in revenue this year intends to operate in the 30 largest metropolitan areas of North America by the end of 2003.
Mr. Scudamore, 32, the founder and chief executive, and Cameron Herold, 37, the vice president of operations and franchise support, want to reach $100 million in revenue from 250 franchises in four years, with the ultimate goal of recognition as the world leader of the undefined junk-removal industry.
"It's the building of what we believe is one of the next great North American brands," Mr. Herold said in an interview at the Vancouver headquarters, called the Junktion. "We really think we're building or going after building a real true North American brand, a household name."
To do that, Mr. Scudamore and Mr. Herold have adapted progressive management and marketing ideas to the industry, creating a clearly identified brand where none has existed.
The key is the phone number for a name, which lodges in the mind of people who see it in giant block figures on trucks around town. It worked for Mike Kwak, 30, a repeat customer who recently had an old table, futon, television set and stereo receiver hauled away for $54.
"I moved two years ago and I used them then," he said. "I saw the trucks around town and I remembered the number from the truck."
All calls go to the Vancouver headquarters, answered by workers in cubicles using specially designed software that sorts and categorizes incoming orders to set appointments, usually within hours.
Franchise owners get assignments by computer or cell phone, picking up the junk and taking it to appropriate dumps, recycling centers or transfer stations.
"As much as we haul junk, we're very much a technology-driven company," Mr. Herold said.
That combination appealed to Alan Remer, who bought a franchise in the Philadelphia area this year for $28,000. He was looking for a change after a decade as a stock trader and after seeing a hijacked plane hit the second World Trade Center tower on September 11.
"I'm just having a blast doing it," Mr. Remer, 32, said in a telephone interview. "It's got the catchy name. Our colors, the blue and green, it's just a catchy truck. I just think there is a demand for it.
"Basically they call us and it's gone in two hours. We give them their basement or garage back."


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