Some say that eyes are the window to a person’s soul. However, there is another window, and that is a person’s “why.”
Finding the answer to that simple question can reveal a person’s motives and character better than facial expressions. For Brian and Amy Howard, owners of A & B Auto Cores in Elkhart, their “whys” are faith, family and community.
Although Brian has made a hobby out of scrapping since he was a young boy, it took losing his job at Jayco around Christmas of 2018 to turn salvaging into a business. At the time, the couple only had $900 to their name.
“He decided to try an entire year of just scrapping, and see if he could start a business out of it,” Amy Howard says.
“We worked out of our home and grew substantially. Then in 2020 we opened our first shop.”
The business continued to expand, even amidst the pandemic. Within a year of opening their first storefront, they hired one full-time and a couple part-time employees. In early 2021, they moved to their current location in Elkhart.
“We believe God gave us the opportunity to own and run this business,” Howard says. “From that, we’d like to give back. We love to be personal with our customers. We’ve built a lot of friendships out of it.”
Thanks to the salvaging business, the Howards have the opportunity to invest more in the lives of their children, who are 12 and 14.
“They like to come in and tinker around, and help out where they can,” Howard says of the children. “They like following their dad around. They’re definitely daddy’s girls.”
A & B Auto Cores specializes in auto recycling, especially in core auto parts like engines, transmissions and fuel tanks.
The Howards stress the importance of conducting business in an ethical, professional manner.
“We make sure that every person has an ID on them when they bring the converter in, that they’re able to provide their ID for copy, and that they also sign the receipt that it’s not stolen,” Howard says.
“The community needs to know that we’re not out there buying the stolen converters. That is not what we want. That is not what our company is centered around. We are for sure doing our very best to make sure that everything that is brought in has not been stolen.”
“We deal with used auto parts which no longer work on a vehicle,” Howard continues. “What a lot of people don’t know or understand is that a lot of auto parts have value, even if they’re bad.
Instead of dumping them at the landfill or taking them in for scrap, they can actually bring it to us and get what’s called a ‘core value’ out of it, which tends to be more than what you would get in scrap.”
They also accept non-ferrous metals like brass, copper, and aluminum, as well as noble metals like gold and silver.
The Howards enjoy having an opportunity to connect with their community in such a unique way. Ultimately, they see their business as an opportunity to share their faith in Jesus Christ.
“A lot of times I’m able to share my faith, where my husband and I came from, and how we’ve grown,” Howard says. “That’s the thing that I love the most – being able to let others know, ‘You may be down right now, but God has different plans for you.’”
Beyond inspiring people with the love of Christ, they also see their business as a way to encourage other people to find independence through self-employment.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money if your dream is to own your business,” Howard explains. “You don’t have to have a lot of money in order to be an entrepreneur. You can start very small and grow according to God’s plan. Don’t let your fears stop you from chasing your dreams.”
A & B Auto Cores is located at 1919 Cassopolis Street in Elkhart. Visit them online at howardsalvaging.com, or call them at 574-338-0288.