Moving Upscale

Junkyards as recycling plants

Who these days is immune to the classic American impulse toward self-improvement? Now it has infected the owners of those grimy, slightly disreputable repositories of rusting old machinery known as junkyards. They are sprucing up operations, organizing merchandise, buying computers, even hiring consultants and promoting an industry association. Says Barry Isenberg, head of a California firm that advises junkyard owners: "No question about it. The last backward industry in the U.S. is now shaping up." The purveyors of used parts are moving so far upscale that they now want...

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