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Q&A with 1-800-GOT-JUNK’s Drew Trautman
As the saying goes, one man’s junk can be another man’s gold. In the case of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a fellow environmentally-minded company, the “junk” of their customers often includes toys which Second Chance Toys can help donate to people in need. Beyond collecting items, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has also been an effective partner for SCT in providing transportation, storage and other logistical help which it did not previously have available.
I had the chance to speak to Drew Trautman, a franchise owner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, about his long-standing collaboration with Second Chance Toys. While the enthusiasm of both parties may read like a mutual appreciation society in our Q&A, it comes to show how what comes easily to one organization can actually go on to regularly benefit thousands of people.
How did you first learn about Second Chance Toys?
1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s Drew Trautman: I was reading the blog of a business contact, a local Chamber Of Commerce friend, who was highlighting Second Chance Toys. This was in 2007 or 2008. At the time I was just opening my 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise and was constantly on the lookout for resources to donate and recycle some of the items we picked up during the normal course of our daily business. The response from SCT at the time was that they were operating out of their home/garage and weren’t in the position to store or accept toys! But, the mission and vision of SCT’s was in line with the values we have at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, and thus after talking to them, we decided to do what we could to help further the organization!
What led to you getting involved with SCT? Where did the creative idea for being a source of transportation that also collects donations come from?
Drew: After talking to the founder Sasha Lipton, the main issue that the organization was having at the time was transportation of toys. Second Chance Toys had the groups that wanted to donate, and the organizations working with kids that wanted to receive, but they needed to connect those dots. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? fit in naturally to help rescue these toys and take them to kids that can use them!
As a company known for its green initiatives, when did you personally first get involved with recycling and reusing items? Was recycling part of your childhood?
Drew: As the son in a military family, we grew up moving around a lot, without a ton of money and without a ton of stuff. I remember being as young as five years old and “going junking” with my mom and dad when we lived in Germany. We would go around to the towns that had “bulk pickups” and see what, if anything, we could find to use. My parents still have some really neat antique pieces in their home from those adventures!
Fast forward to college, where I received a degree in Economics with a minor in Environmental Sciences, which I thought I’d use to become an Environmental Lawyer and save the world. I ended up with a 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise and couldn’t be happier. Recycling, reusing and finding alternatives to the landfill are a part of what we do every day. So, the green side of me -- and the business -- has been with me since I can remember!
Aside from SCT, who are the people or organizations which 1-800-GOT-JUNK? helps out the most?
Drew: It varies from franchise to franchise but everyone is involved in their communities. Locally, we sponsor the Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure and the NYC Aids Walk each year. We also donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army and Furniture Assist on a daily or weekly basis.
What is your favorite thing about 1-800-GOT-JUNK? as a company? Is there something you wish more people knew about it? Something that makes it different from other removal companies?
Drew: Without question, my favorite part of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is the people. I have been involved with the company now for over 10 years, and during that time I have met people who are now some of my best friends. Brian Scudamore, the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, is well-known for saying that “it’s all about people.” It’s not just a catchy phrase, it’s a vein that runs throughout the organization’s culture and practices. I wish everyone had the chance to visit a franchise or tour the corporate headquarters, which is called the Junktion -- and they actually do run tours! It is truly a special place, made up of amazing people, and the energy there is palpable.
Are there any upcoming events 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is involved with which you'd like to let our readers know about?
Drew: We are excited to be planning for another SCT toy drive in the holiday season. We also continue to donate to local branches of Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Furniture Assist.
Author: Darren Paltrowitz, Music & Media Licensing at Viacom