David Yochlowitz remembers vividly what it was like to work with his grandfather Daniel in the family salvage business.
Daniel had opened ABC Salvage and Metal company on Main Street in Vancouver in 1949, but he was introduced to the business by his father, Joseph, who began a scrap peddling business in 1912.
"Me and my dad lived with my grandparents (Daniel and Molly) and I think I started working in the business when I was 12 or 13," said David. "I remember how hard my grandfather worked and how important it was to keep your word. He would give somebody his word and that was how a deal was done. They'd shake hands and you wouldn't need to write anything down."
Daniel's father, Harold, also worked at ABC and David is now the chief executive officer of the multi-million dollar business that has its head office in Burnaby and five other satellite offices in the province, with a sixth, in Fort St. John, scheduled to open this August.
Now known as ABC Recycling, the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a Family Fun Day party on Aug. 4 at its Big Bend facility.
Not only are families invited to bring their scrap metal - everything from pipes to the kitchen sink or a beater car - for recycling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Also featured at the event will be site tours, free refreshments, a Jaws of Life demonstration by the Burnaby firefighters and kids activities.
All proceeds will go to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Giving back to the community is something David believes in and that's something he also learned from his grandfather.
"As hard as my grandfather worked and as much as he gave to the business, he believed you had to give back to the community," said David. "It's not always about making money and it's something I believe we have to continue to do, to honour what my family has always done."
Giving back means supporting a variety of non-profit organizations such as the United Way, the Burnaby Hospital Foundation and the Kidney Metals program, which has already raised more than $240,000 in its first year to support people and families with kidney disease. ABC's charity golf tournament in June raised $23,000 alone.
The company's support also extends to people, as it has a graduate endowment fund at SFU that supports two students annually, and the company pays for two days of paid volunteer time per employee per year.
As one of the oldest businesses in the Big Bend area - the company purchased its 10-acre Burnaby property in 1964 and moved its head office there in the early '70s - ABC Recycling has now expanded to more than 100 employees.
In 1995, the company started up a brokerage business to move scrap metal around the world by land, sea and rail.
David remembers how the company has changed with the times and the area around their facility.
"We used to be salvage and then it became recycling and now you see a move to zero waste in almost all products," said David. "We're working with so many different streams, whether it be recycling or the incinerator down the street. ... We're working with a lot of different players in the push to zero waste."
It's a far cry from the days when David was just starting out in the business.
"I remember it was all farms and there was just Marine Drive," he said. "Marine Way hadn't even opened yet. ... Now, Lululemon is right behind us and there's retail and soon there will be more residential."
As David and his siblings shepherd the company into its next 100 years of business, they'll be working with the next generation of Yochlowitz children to ensure that the fifth generation continues what the first four have done so well.
"I have a daughter who's nine and a son who's four and there are seven kids in the next generation, with the oldest being 12," said David. "I know how much I learned by being part of this business. I think we can continue to grow this business and continue to give back in meaningful ways to the communities we work in."
The ABC Recycling Family Fun Day Party will be on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 8081 Meadow Ave. in South Burnaby. For more information, go to www.abcrecycling.com.