Company history: Brown’s Auto Salvage was started in 1976 by Mark Brown and his father Roger. After his father’s death, Mark ran the company by himself until he met his future wife Joan. He was fortunate to meet her, a business major at Castleton State College, because he was, at the time, managing his money by simply just stuffing it into a trick or treater’s plastic pumpkin.
Over the years, they bought more property around the site until it encompassed the full 14 acres.
Oddly enough, their property is a rough circle due to an undeeded Civil War era cemetery in the middle of the salvage yard! Originally, the cemetery occupied four acres of forested land.
In the early 2000s, though, we came up with a plan to minimize the area that was lost to the cemetery. We invited a team from Harvard University to come to survey the grave sites with ground-penetrating radar. Fortunately, they found that the actual grave sites only occupied one acre. We were able to make a deal with the town to claim the area with no graves in exchange for us maintaining the cemetery. We cleared the trees, planted grass, and restored the graves to the best of our ability, leaving a relatively beautiful cemetery considering the years of neglect.
The company continued to grow but remained modest because of Joan’s and Mark’s main passion at the time—their family. Both were incredibly active in their kids’ lives, coaching sports teams and chaperoning field trips. After both of them (Emily and Matt) were out of high school though, they began to turn things up.
In the late 2000s, they began to build a new building and several additions to create a truly modern recycling facility. In 2013, their son Matt graduated from the University of Vermont and came on full-time as a car buyer. It was around this time that Brown’s was becoming more active in Team PRP and we began actively growing the business.
By the end of 2017, the business had roughly doubled in size, with Matt being made General Manager and his sister Emily deciding the join the business as well.
With the support of our Team PRP partners, it appears that we will continue the growth we have experienced in the past well into the future!
How many acres do you occupy? 14 acres.
Number of vehicles processed annually: 1700
Number of dismantling bays: We have four bays but are in the permitting process for a new addition that will have six bays.
Number of employees: We have 32 full-time employees and a handful of high school guys who either come before school to help unload the overnight Team PRP truck or after school to help prep the next night’s Team PRP truck.
How long have you been a Team PRP member? Since 2012
Industry affiliations: ARA member, Gold Seal Member, URG member, leader of the Vermont ARA.
What’s special about your company? We have the best salvage facility in the country because we operate on the principle that there are three stakeholders in any company: the customers, the employees, and the owners. We have found that if the owners keep the primary concern the customers, and the secondary concern the employees, the owners will always be fine and the business grows. We have 100% trust in our employees and managers and always keep in mind that we would be unemployed without them.