Salvage Customers Slow To Spend

Brothers Harvey and Phillip Orenstein, owners of Yales Inc., an auto-salvage company on Maple Avenue in Montville, say they haven't seen the jump they'd expect during hard economic times. Sales even have declined a little.

”I believe it's tough economics right now, nobody wants to spend a dime,” says Phillip Orenstein, 49, of Waterford. “We've cut back in what we buy as a business and on a personal basis.”

In the past six weeks, the market for scrap metal has dropped drastically. The Orensteins say cars that were selling for a scrap value of $300 are now worth $40. They also figure people are keeping their older cars longer and postponing maintenance.

The auto-salvage company has been in the family for more than 60 years. About 15 years ago the brothers took over the business from their father, George, and uncles, Yale and Max, who had operated it for many years as the “3 Mad Men.”

In the afternoon, Harvey Orenstein, 57, is calling customers who owe him money. He says more and more customers have been slow in paying bills.

”Most of the response I get is, 'The check is on the desk, I'll mail it out today.' And if I didn't call them, that check would have been sitting on the desk two weeks from now.”

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