For this month’s URG Member feature, we welcome Chris Dimarzio of Linder’s in Worcester, Massachusetts! Chris has been a part of Linder’s team for a long time, and has been a manager at Linder’s for approximately 28 years and, both he and Linder’s, are still going strong! 

“I washed cars when I was 13 years old at a car lot and by 16 I was taking the bus to a small salvage yard in my hometown in Western Mass, pulling parts and was in that capacity right up through high school,” Chris reminisced. “I took a break for about three years and did some carpentry, but ended up going back and working for that same small yard.”

“I was delivering parts and then started selling parts on the road while I was delivering parts. The owner put me in the office and I ended up there for a number of years and I ended up managing that facility for about 14 years. Then I started my own shop. I was doing repairs and fixing cars, doing body work, it was there that one of the buyers for Linder’s kept seeing me and asking if I’d be interested in coming to work for Linder’s!”

At about that point, after the birth of Chris’ third daughter, he decided that working for himself was what he really wanted, “Maybe it’d be better if I just work for somebody else rather than working for a lifetime trying to build something that I really wasn’t going to be able to hand off. So, that’s what I did. And I’ve been here (at Linder’s) ever since.”

When we asked Chris what his favorite position that he had held in the industry, his answers were diverse!

“I like working my hands. So obviously when I was a parts puller, each day you know, it’s a matter of pride about how many cars and parts you can pull and it’s very competitive, you know, there’s a lot of competitiveness. In my day with the parts pullers had a good camaraderie about them. I’m kind of an outgoing person so sales was a good fit for me,” he said. 

“I’d have to say at one time buying cars was probably one of my favorite jobs because, you know, there’s nothing that gets the juices flowing more than acquisition. But you know, nothing pleases me more than to bring people up. We identified some people in my organization that show that they could shine if given the chance and we did just that! It’s always fun bringing people up and improving their lives and we’re very proud of the percentage of employees here who are homeowners. I’m most proud about that!” he finished.

That’s the kind of long-term thinking that has kept Linder’s in business for over 100 years!

“They started in 1922, and it started out very small as an auto sales place. A short time into that, there was a car that they had that wasn’t selling well. Somebody came in and said ‘I need a transmission out of that car for my car. Would you consider selling it?’ I don’t know what the dollar value was, but when the guy made the offer for the tranny, it was as much as they were asking for the whole car!” Chris remarked. “So they sold it and a light bulb went off and that’s how they transitioned into the auto salvage business! I think there might have been five or six employees at one time (in 1922). Currently at this facility, and we have multiple divisions here, but overall we have 75 in this facility: auto sales, auto service and auto parts.”

Linder’s averages approximately 170 cars a month as a full service yard. Chris had this to say about their process. “We don’t fully dismantle a vehicle when that comes in. We drain it, make it environmentally sound for the yard and we take the wheels and tires off it, we check everything before we start pulling off electrical components, we test the drive train and do what we can, we cut the catalytic converter out and then the car goes out into the yard and we sell off of it. Linder’s  pretty much invented that years and years ago, they were one of the leaders in racking everything. They’d rip a car down to the hubcaps and rack everything!” They found out that they end up throwing away about 50% of everything you put on a shelf. “So, years and years ago, they just transitioned to having the car be the rack and the safest and easiest way is just to leave it on the rack and pull it when you need it and then you can crush it out later if you need to.”

Linder’s recently completed a website launch utilizing URG Website Services, “We knew we had a very inadequate website and, it just seemed like a totally daunting task to switch it. I have to say the transition with URG was almost seamless. You guys were just Johnny on the spot. Everything we have fed you was instantaneously = on the site. We’re happy with the end result. It looks and functions great!”

Linder’s has been an active donor to the URG Scholarship Foundation, and their employees have benefited from these scholarships! “She’s one of the top of her class and is currently going to UConn. She’s just doing phenomenally, and those scholarships really do make a difference. It was put to good use and the stories of the people that have gone on to do great things with the money that we’re donating to the URG Scholarship. You feel good about that money you’ve donated because it’s not being wasted, and it’s being utilized very well.”

Chris also discussed the importance of being both a URG and ARA member, “I see ARA as an important industry association. They do a lot of good things, they’ve always focused on the bigger picture, and it’s needed, the lobbying, all of that, it helps to preserve our marketplace. I always say that ARA kind of mantles that responsibility. What I like about URG, you guys get into the weeds, the nuts and bolts of our daily operations and so you make it easier and more profitable to sell those parts in the marketplace that ARA is trying to preserve and create. So, I think it’s a very symbiotic relationship between the two associations. I really enjoy the technology that URG keeps bringing to the forefront in our industry.” 

For more of the interview with Chris Dimarzio of Linder’s Inc, be sure to tune in to the URG On-the-Go Podcast on all your favorite podcasting platforms. 

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