Misgens make salvage yard a family affair

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

ELLENDALE &045; When the Misgen children were young, Misgen Salvage Yard was the ultimate playground.

Cars are stacked three tall. The floor of a small forest is lined with antique buses &045; a blue one, a green one &045;

and they’re filled with car parts.

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There are more than 20 acres of cars. Walking through it, a Ford truck looks like it marks the end until you see beyond &045; stacks of tires, an old camper, more cars &045; all divided by dirt roads, peppered with bits of tin, rust and chrome.

&uot;I still have friends who talk about it,&uot; Brenda Misgen, 26,said about the salvage yard that made her the envy of her friends. When she was younger, it supplied her and her three brothers with the ultimate games of tag and hide-and-go-seek, and as they got older, it offered them a place to work and still be with their family.

In a time when people say families are getting farther apart, the Misgens see each other most days.

Some are not sure for how long.

&uot;You’re going to be working here the rest of your life, didn’t I tell you that?&uot; Brenda told Nick, 20.

&uot;It’s kind of neutral right now,&uot; Nick said back.

Daniel, 19, is the only one who admits that he’ll work indefinitely at the business his grandfather started.

Established in 1972, the business started out as a storage space for abandoned cars. Their grandfather, Frances, put them on his farm. It slowly evolved in to a salvage yard as people requested parts.

Now it has more than 10 employees, including the kids’ aunt.

The kids started working there in their early teens, doing odd jobs. Now Brenda, the oldest, does the office work, Jeremy takes cars apart, Nick takes cars apart and does the car crushing, and Daniel, who is in college, does a little of everything.

&uot;Its kind of nice, kids working with you,&uot; owner Jim Misgen said. He said he takes satisfaction from knowing that his business will one day go to his children.

He said it was also nice having them grow up where he works and having them around so much.

(Contact Tim Sturrock at tim.sturrock @albertleatribune.com or 379-3438.)