Archive for Thursday, July 4, 2002

Trash business remains open

July 4, 2002


The owner of AARDS trash removal company has had second thoughts about closing the business.

AARDS Home-Business Trash Service workers have resumed service on all routes, a company spokesperson said Tuesday, but are playing catch-up after the company briefly ceased operations last week.

Sheryl Cunningham, wife of AARDS owner Ray Cunningham, said her 61-year-old husband had decided to call it quits after the Topeka-based company was named in a lawsuit and several workers resigned. But encouragement from friends in the business and customers convinced him he should keep the trash service going, she said.

She said her husband and other company employees are putting in extra hours to catch up on missed trash collection.

"Everything will be picked up by the end of this week," Sheryl Cunningham said. "By this weekend, all the trash will be caught up, and operations will resume as normal next Monday."

The company has about 6,100 mostly rural customers in Shawnee and western Douglas counties.

Sheryl Cunningham said company office workers were struggling Tuesday to keep up with phone calls from puzzled customers.

"They only have three lines," she said. "Only one has an answering machine. So, if it's playing the machine, the other lines just ring. They're trying to answer the phones today."

Many customers Monday tried unsuccessfully to contact the company.

Sheryl Cunningham said her husband in the past had helped other trash collectors when they needed it. That assistance is being repaid, she said, by at least one friend in the business who loaned AARDS a truck and workers to help the company revive service.

She said her husband announced Friday he would close the business because he was overwhelmed by the problems the company faced.

"He's 61 years old," she said. "He could have run 20 hours a day 20 years ago, no problem. But (last week) he couldn't do it all, and he wanted to do it all, and he couldn't."

She said her husband was helping his employees pick up trash and would be out working the routes himself July 4.

"Anything to get out of a family reunion," she said.

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