Locator Magazine Article - July, 2006
Dino's Corvette Salvage LLC
He Loves Corvettes
by Felicia Lowenstein Niven
Show Dino Behler a Corvette and his eyes will light up. The automotive recycler has been passionate about them since he was young. "When I was a teenager, I would do odd jobs to buy Corvette parts," said Behler. "I couldn’t afford a car but I thought I could maybe build one from the parts. After the parts started piling up, my parents gave me the money to buy a wreck. I didn’t even have my driver’s license yet."
Pursuing A Dream
Behler went to college for just about six months before his dad told him he’d found his calling. "I was rebuilding one car a month and giving my dad the money," remembered Behler. "After I had given him about $50,000, my dad said he didn’t think I needed college. So I started my own shop." It was smooth sailing in those early years. From about age 18 to 20, Behler worked on cars. Then came the catastrophic fire that shut Behler down. He briefly switched gears in 1994 and spent about a year selling telecommunications services. At the time, Behler didn’t know a thing about computers, but he invested his time and learned. He saw the early potential of the Internet and invested in a domain name for a web site - CorvetteSalvage.com. And he also started brokering Corvette parts from his apartment.
More Profits From Parts
"It wasn’t long before I discovered that selling parts was more profitable than fixing up a car," he said. "I bought my first wrecked Corvette that I wasn’t going to fix, put it under a car cover and started pulling parts. A $2,000 car would yield about $8,000 in parts." As Behler acquired more cars, he invested in a building right by the New Orleans International Airport. He didn’t even turn on the electricity. He just came by and pulled parts off the cars. "Eventually I was shipping too many boxes so I turned on the electricity and set up as a business," he said. "We outgrew the building in 2002 and I bought 10 acres of property in Mississippi, about 55 miles away." Today, the business ships all over the world, with UPS, truck freight and international shipping. Dino’s Corvette also owns one truck which is used for making local deliveries. At last count, Behler had about 400 Corvettes on hand. About 80 percent of his customers are retail, including a fair share from the Internet. There is also a 5,000-square-foot showroom with both used and new parts for walk-in customers.
Tell The World
Behler doesn’t advertise much. "Having the world wide web at your fingertips is very powerful," he explained. "We’re usually at the top of the Internet searches." Then, there are the Corvette show swap meets. "Most other automotive recyclers have to go to the industry conventions," he continued. "Because we’re in a niche business, we have a very specialized customer. We go to where they are." The customer is always of prime importance to Dino’s Corvette. "That’s what sets us apart," said Behler. "For example, we have a 30-day warranty on our used parts but I’m not going to hold the customer to that if they call me in 45 days with a problem. We’ve had people call us a year later because they just got around to opening the box. If it’s not the right part or if it’s not functioning, we’ll send them another. I am more concerned with customer retention than a warranty." As to his own passion for Corvettes, it hasn’t diminished over time. "If you could go to work every day and not get paid a check, the question is, would you be at your current job?" questioned Behler. "I would. It is a part of me. And if you truly love what you do, it will show on the other end to your customer."
Owner: Dino Behler
Location: Picayune, Mississippi
Years In Business: 13
US Postal Service Article - June, 2010
Auto Salvage Business Takes Off with USPS
It''s been the classic American sports car for more than 50 years. It's always been cool to drive, it's sophisticated, has had such names as Blue Flame or Stingray, and been available as a convertible or coupe. The first model of the Chevrolet Corvette was introduced at the General Motors Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Since then more than 1.3 million Corvettes have been manufactured.
From the beginning, not only has the Corvette been a collectible car, it's also highly valued and loved by it's owners and drivers, and no more so than when repair and refurbishing threaten to force the two to part ways.
That's when many owners and fan's turn to Dino Behler of Picayune, MS for help. He may not have all 1.3 million of them but he has enough broken and bruised Corvette's that he's able to operate a successful salvage business providing parts for the well loved sports car.
Dino's Corvette Salvage ships parts to customers across the country and world wide, so Behler was very interested when rural carrier Barney Fine Explained to him how Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes could help his business.
From their the project took off. Picayune Post Master Larry Jones Supervisor, Customer Services Keith Brown and Business Solution Specialist Michael Johnson all got involved and assisted Behler by supplying him with free packaging and set-up for USPS shipping. Behler currently ships 15-20 packages daily and projecting postal revenues of $25,000 annually.
"Dino was thrilled not only with the competitive pricing, but that we pick up his shipments, provide free packaging and we have the scans and tracking there for him and his customers," Jones said.
Dino's Corvette Salvage found the shipping tune up it needed, and the Postal Service is now cruising with a new customer and new revenue.
Press Release 2010
Dino's Corvette Salvage Receives 2010 Best of Business Award
Small Business Commerce Association’s Award Honors the Achievement
SAN FRANCISCO, March 19, 2011, Dino's Corvette Salvage has been selected for the 2010 Best of Business Award in the Automotive category by the Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA)
The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is pleased to announce that Dino's Corvette Salvage has been selected for the 2010 Best of Business Award in the Automotive category.
The SBCA 2010 Award Program recognizes the top 5% of small businesses throughout the country. Using statistical research and consumer feedback, the SBCA identifies companies that we believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off statistical research and also information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports. Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.
About Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA)
Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is a San Francisco based organization. The SBCA is a private sector entity that aims to provide tactical guidance with many day to day issues that small business owners face. In addition to our main goal of providing a central repository of small business operational advice; we use consumer feedback to identify companies that exemplify what makes small business a vital part of the American economy.
SOURCE: Small Business Commerce Association
Small Business Commerce Association
Edmunds.com - February, 2013
The Corvette Lives On
published by John Pearly Huffman
Picayune, Mississippi, is a small town that serves as a bedroom community for nearby New Orleans. It's also home to Dino's Corvette Salvage and Sales, the self-proclaimed "World's Largest Corvette Only Salvage Facility."
"We have several thousand on the lot," says owner Dino Behler, 46, with his New Orleans drawl as he looks out over four acres of C3, C4, C5 and a few C6 Corvettes. "We're a few years behind the curve. The C7 will make the C6 easier to find. There's more of a finite market for C1s and C2s, so we don't really deal in those."
Behler opened his business back in 1998 when he began brokering Corvette parts on eBay. A few years after that he began buying wrecked Corvettes and parting them out in the parking lot of his New Orleans apartment building. By the time he moved everything to Picayune, he was buying three or four wrecked Corvettes a week. Now the business is robust enough that he owns the land and building it occupies debt-free, has six employees and the $250,000 a year the company makes on eBay alone is enough to cover expenses. "Unlike other cars, every part of a Corvette is worth something," he explains. "We can pull the bolts out of a car's interior, bag them up, and sell that to people who need original bolts."
Behler's company has been so successful that he's split it into two: one to handle complete car sales and the other parts. "If we went over a million in sales, that would bring a lot of hassle," he says. "But I've never increased my own salary and most of our money is in inventory."
Car & Driver Magazine - August 2014
Popular Mechanics - September, 2014
Published by John Pearly Huffman
The State of the American Scrapyard
Fixing your Rod with some other guys trash isn't what it used to be. Thankfully, finding treasure is easier than ever before.
Take cheap tools.
That's what Jim Losee told me on my first trip to the Pick Your Part junkyard in Sun Valley, California, back in 1990. He was the experienced editor and I was the new guy at Car Craft magazine. "You're going to lose some, so they may as well be crappy."
It's a car guy's rite of passage: scrounging through metal hulks sinking into brown weeds on the outskirts of town, determined to find that one part that will have your hot rod roaring—or your beater lasting another month. Maybe it's a short-nose water pump to get a big-block V-8 into your Nova. Or an Acura Integra's B18 twin-cam engine that's a perfect fit for your Honda CRX. When you find it, for that brilliant moment, you are lord of all salvage.
Don't get used to the feeling.
"That was the old way to do it," says Dino Behler, owner of Dino's Corvette Salvage in Picayune, Mississippi. Change has come to the scrapyard business, and more is on the way. There just isn't as much of a market for car parts these days. People aren't fixing their 1992 Dodge Shadows or 1997 Chevy Cavaliers—those go straight to the shredder. Their parts are more valuable as scrap metal.
Not that junkyards are completely disappearing. It's still big business: In the United States alone about 12.6 million cars are recycled a year, according to an industry trade group. There are active markets for vehicles such as Hondas, Toyotas, and pickup trucks, which are stripped before heading to the shredder. But the hottest salvage markets are with boutique yards like Behler's, which specializes in Corvettes. The U.S. salvage business is worth $22 billion a year, spread out over more than 8,200 companies.
Like I said, still big.
But different. Environmental regulations and more efficient land-use practices push junkyards out of town. And computerization and the Internet are altering how we search for parts. Pick Your Part is still around, but there are more efficient ways to find parts now—ways that don't end in as many tetanus shots or lost tools.
In salvage, the more cars you process, the more money you make. It used to be that to make more money, you purchased more land. Now, with the development of rack systems that use giant steel arms to stack cars on top of one another, that's not the case.
"When you buy property, you buy all the way to the sky," Behler says. Complete cars (or parts of cars) can be stacked up to five high. They're plucked off the racks when it's time to pull parts off of them. Small yards can hold more cars than ever before, and they don't have to buy a neighbor's lot to expand their business.
But you can't let amateurs scramble over these car towers, pulling out alternators and a/c compressors and the like. So yards use computerized inventory systems and then connect them to websites, smartphone apps such as Get Used Parts or Car-Part Pro, or tablets in the yards themselves. They no longer rely on buyers stumbling across what they need. There's less civilian knuckle busting involved.
For specialty-parts businesses for cars such as Corvettes and Porsches, a computerized inventory, when it's available on the Internet, also makes it possible to attract a critical mass of buyers. Convenient, sure, but much less fun than swap meets. "The Internet takes all those little itty-bitty pieces of the market and brings them together," Behler says. "Every part of a Corvette has value. Every screw. Every bolt. Everything."
Behler says that before this market opened to him, he would have had to have taken other sorts of work—maintenance and repairs—to make ends meet. "I just shipped out two engines to China and another whole huge order to Malaysia," he says. "I never would have had that international exposure before the Internet."
While technology makes things easier on junkyards, it does provide a new challenge: keeping up. Soon junkyards will need to handle things like lithium-ion batteries and carbon-fiber parts. Next year Ford's F-150 pickup truck will feature an aluminum body. In a few years salvage yards will need to be ready to recycle them.
For me, there will always be a romance in the search—in disassembling old cars to feed your own. But even I'll admit that romance doesn't stand a chance against the efficiency and convenience of a third-of-a-second search on your smartphone.
If nothing else, at least I won't have to worry about losing tools.