Kamen: Recycling business is growing

Sheldon Kamen wants people to know that his century-old metal recycling business is expanding, not closing.

Kamen Recycling, the 113-year-old Wichita business with headquarters at 800 E. 21st St., is expanding and adding new equipment, said Kamen.

"We were the first scrap yard in Wichita, and we'll probably be the last one, too," he said, chuckling.

Bud Palmer Auction on Tuesday sold off years of accumulated old recycling equipment, Kamen said, an auction labeled "not quitting business."

The auction brought in around $750,000, Kamen said, offsetting the company's six-figure bill for the equipment upgrade.

"We're not closing," Kamen said. "We just sold some old equipment and some property. The operation is going as strong as ever. Our business is going to increase, rather than decrease."

Kamen called the changes a modernization of the recycling firm's operation.

"Business hasn't been difficult for us at all," he said. "We just had to get rid of the old equipment and get more modern stuff. There's no way we're going to cut down on business."

The equipment sale included the sale of two pieces of Kamen property downtown, on Santa Fe and Murdock, Kamen said.

Wichita's family-owned businesses are the foundation of the local business community, said Tim Witsman, president of the Wichita Independent Business Association.

"The trend over the last 30 years has been fewer and fewer local family-owned businesses," Witsman said, "here and across the country.

"The strong long-lived local businesses are pretty important to communities like ours because they've helped grow and support the community over a long period of time."