The piles of junk on the yard at E.J. Knight Scrap Material Co. are growing. And that's not good news. Just ask Mark Kamensky, a third-generation salvage yard owner.
"I probably got a half a million dollars here in good times," Kamensky said last week. "In today's market, it's probably worth $100,000 — and that's if I could get somebody to take it. Nobody wants it. I couldn’t give it away."
In about two months the scrap metal business has gone from boom to bust.
It happened quickly.
"That's an understatement," Kamensky said. "It happened over a six- to eight-day period."
Around Labor Day, Kamensky and others in the scrap metal business noticed a fundamental change that was triggered when the bottom fell out of the international market: Orders from China stopped.
Rick Caldwell, general manager of Schnitzer Steel's Columbus plant, the former J.T. Knight plant, said it was abrupt.
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