Salvage Yard with History

When your car reaches the end of its useful life you will definitely want to take it in to your local auto salvage yard to make sure as much of the vehicle as possible gets recycled!  Eco-friendly auto recycling yards across North America make it easy for everyday folks to get rid of these old junk cars.

A local business with a history of innovation and community service continues the long tradition of the salvage yard industry.

As a young man, Raymond Butchko worked in his father’s garage in Smock. After his father’s death, Butchko began working in the coal mines, and later went to work for B&O Railroad.

During World War II, Butchko served in the Navy as chief of the motor pool. Upon his discharge, he resumed work for the railroad as a fireman.

But in 1951, in hopes of securing a brighter future for their families, he and his brother, Paul Butchko, began the auto salvage yard now known as Butchko Bros. Inc. The business started in a small garage behind their mother’s home on Route 119 in Dunbar Township.

In 1959, Butchko Bros. was the first business in the area to purchase and use a flat-bed tow truck for hauling vehicles.

Raymond Butchko was criticized by fellow auto salvers for the purchase, according to his daughter, Diana Omatick, who now operates the business

“With the flat-bed, people originally thought it was a piece of junk, but now everybody has one,” Omatick said. Raymond Butchko operated the business from 1951 until his death in 1999.

Butchko Bros. Inc. was one of the first auto salvage yards in the area to become computerized. All vehicles and parts are inventoried and tagged using the computer interchange system.

The business has grown to consist of several warehouses, four delivery trucks, two flat-bed car haulers and 14 employees.

The business became associated with the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce, the Western Pennsylvania Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers of America, the Pennsylvania Automotive Recycling Trade Society and the Automotive Recyclers of America.

“Without computers, we cannot do business today,” Omatick said.

With information such as a vehicle’s make, model and year, Butchko Bros. can find a specific part anywhere in the country, its cost and information on the dealer or salvage yard that has it.

With all the items on the business’ shelves and what is known as the Teletype system, Butchko Bros. has access to more than a million used auto parts from thousands of salvage nationwide.

Butchko Bros. also is associated with eBay, allowing it to vastly expand its customer base.

“We had the tri-state area, and now the whole world,” Omatick said.

Whether the customer is next door or on the next continent, Omatick said Butchko Bros. still keeps the philosophy of helping the customer, giving the customer the best parts at the best prices, trying to work with the customer and correcting any problems that would arise.

“I treat the customers the way I want to be treated,” Omatick said, which includes not keeping customers waiting when they walk through the door.

That kind of service has resulted in a lot of positive advertising through word of mouth, which is important to any business but particularly a salvage yard, which has to rise above people’s perceptions of what it is.

“If there’s no salvage yards, where will the cars go?” Omatick said. “The salvage yard has been around since the first car.”

Of the salvage yard businesses that she knows, Omatick said, about two-thirds of them are upstanding and reputable.

“We want to be a good role model,” Omatick said.

In order to fit that description, Omatick said, Butchko’s tries to get flattened vehicles out of the yard periodically and has not piled up vehicles on top of one another for years.

Omatick said Butchko’s keeps up on the newest tools and laws. Politicians often consider salvage yards eyesores, she said, so owners must know the laws and follow the regulations. She said the business must be prepared for bureaucrats who make surprise visits — which happens quite a bit.

“Salvage yards and auto wreckers have people lobbying for them in Harrisburg and Washington,” Omatick said.

In down economic times, Omatick said, salvage yards such as Butchko Bros. have more people come into the store because they’ve decided to skip the middleman at the garage, buy the part and replace it themselves.

Omatick said there is an increase in women visiting the business, as well especially single women, whom Omatick said are given plenty of advice with absolutely no pressure.

“There are many smart women out there, but they’ve never dealt with their cars,” Omatick said.

Not only does Butchko Bros. help the customers, it also helps local first responders by allowing nearby fire departments to hold training sessions on its grounds. Some of the training includes using the Jaws of Life for vehicle extractions.

“You have to support your local departments,” Omatick said.

Butchko’s works with state police at Uniontown as well.

Omatick said Butchko’s works hard to create a “green” business environment.

All useable parts from scrapped vehicles are inventoried and removed for resale; antifreeze is drained and resold; gasoline is drained and used for delivery vehicles; oils are drained and used to heat the business; all tires are removed — usable ones are resold and others are hauled to a tire recycler; batteries are removed to be resold or sent to a battery recycler; and other parts are sold to remanufacturing companies or processing companies.

“Salvage yards are good for the … environment,” Omatick said. “We reuse, not manufacture.”

Despite the headaches that can come with the business, Omatick sais she enjoys the work.

“It’s a challenging business. It’s new and different every day,” she said. “It’s like a scavenger hunt for some parts and some are readily available.”  Keep up the good work!