The company traces its origins nearly 20 years ago, when Phillip and his wife, Stephanie, worked the business out of their garage. In an era before smart phones, they teamed up to successfully bid and purchase used electronics. He traveled to auctions and phoned Stephanie, who would research the value of items online. This allowed Phillip to know what to buy and what to bid on the items.
What electronics could be refurbished were remarketed on eBay, but there was one catch. They had to buy in bulk, and the pallets of electronics included many electronics that could not be resold. “We had to find a way to generate value for the leftovers,” says Kennedy. Recycling these left-over electronics was the genesis of Premier Surplus.
Through trial and error, they quickly learned the E-Scrap business and became more efficient in recycling what could not be refurbished, even though everything was processed manually. They moved operations to a larger shed and then again to a 20,000-ft2 (1,858-m2) facility. It is at that point Premier Surplus added a shredder to increase E-Scrap sorting efficiency. Taking in and processing more material, the company again moved into a larger, 50,000-ft2 (4,645-m2) facility.
Part of Premier Surplus’s growth was driven by bringing on new accounts to keep a consistent flow of materials. “We have a good portfolio of customers, which includes manufacturers, schools, governmental agencies and larger corporations,” says Kennedy. Mark Neitzey, national sales director for Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, Norwalk, Conn., adds, “I’m really impressed by how well Premier Surplus knows the business and by their passion. Many of the employees know every job within the company, and they all do the work well.”
The second part of the success story was finding customers to purchase recycled materials. Early on, the company discovered they needed to increase volume to reach certain customers. “We spoke to smelters to see they would accept 8,000 lb (3,629 kg) of material a month. They required 25,000 lb (11,340 kg) per month before they would consider us,” explains Kennedy.