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“Nobody wants to do business with a company that is unable to deliver – promises don’t compare to performance.”

Fusselman Salvage is a full service recycling center that purchases scrap metal. We serve the north-central and northeast Missouri counties and will take almost anything except full vehicles. Large or small, if you’re a customer, we’ll serve you.

MO: What inspired you to launch your business?

David: My grandfather started Fusselman Salvage Company in 1947, then it was passed on to my uncle and father upon his death. I grew up working summers in the business, then midway through high school I became a part-time after-school employee, taking care of customer service and bookkeeping. After attending some college I realized this was what I wanted to do, so I became the full-time office manager and eventually purchased the company.

MO: Do you have any recent success stories that you’d like to share with our readers?

David: We just completed our second expansion project since 1995 and have a beautiful new facility that offers unparalleled convenience and speed of service to our customers. It also streamlines our receiving and processing functions while greatly expanding our storage space for finished material.

MO: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that  challenge?

David: Initially, it was creating a team, piece by piece, that I could rely on to work together and take care of business in the midst of amazing growth during the first 10 years I owned the company. Now, I find that escalating costs, especially payroll, health insurance and fuel, place an increasing amount of pressure on me as a business owner to generate enough margin to remain profitable, particularly at times when the economy has slowed and competitors are tightening their margins in an attempt to maintain flow.

MO: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.

David: My father and uncle always had a “can-do” attitude and never got rattled by the major challenges of running a business. The Great Recession of 1981 pushed us to our limits, but they found a way through it and I owe my prosperity today to their determination and skill during that extremely difficult time.

MO: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?

David: Try to stay within your capabilities, even while working to stretch them. Nobody wants to do business with a company that is unable to deliver – promises don’t compare to performance. And work with as little debt as you can, because you never know when the economy is going to pull the rug out from under you. When planning an expansion, scale it to where you can make loan payments even during the leanest of times.

MO: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?

David: Buying the business using a very large bank loan was the most exposure I’ve ever had, but the economy was just hitting its stride after a recession and delivered a few exceptionally profitable years, diminishing any concern I had about the financial burden. Several years after the purchase I was debt-free outside of a temporary line of credit for extra inventory accumulation. My current expansion is the second biggest risk I’ve taken.

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