In for the long haul: Wayno's turns 20



WAYNOS
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Wayne and Tricia Frenette celebrate 20 years in business as the area’s largest garbage hauler. Jeff Woodburn. (click for larger version)
January 19, 2011
LANCASTER — Twenty years ago, Wayne Frenette was laid-off from his job as a groomer for the state Bureau of Trails. It was an annual occurrence, but his restless mind began to wonder about better ways to make a living, and it finally settled on Eugene Foss' garbage-hauling business. Foss, who was ill, wanted out, and Frenette, then just 22 years-old and four years out of White Mountains Regional High School, wanted in. He changed the name to "Wayn-o's Disposal Service" and today he's the immediate region's biggest hauler of commercial and residential garbage — serving around 400 dumpsters, 600 curbside pick-up customers and handling two municipal services.

While the business is a family affair with Wayne focusing on the physical operation and his wife, Tricia, handling the business detail work, they both are quick to credit their employees for their success. They have four employees with a total over 40 years of service. One employee, Gary Downing, who is the grandson of the original owner, has been with Frenette since their first day in 1991.

Wayno's started out very small, catering to a few dozen customers with trailers and then they slowly transitioned to metal dumpsters. Business was good, Wayne said, but when municipalities instituted the "pay-as-you-throw" system, where waste needed to be placed in costly town bags, their business took off. "People didn't want to buy town bags," he said, and at $6.50 a week customers can still have up to 7 bags picked up at their curb. This service doesn't discourage recycling, he said, as many of their customers still bring their recyclables to the transfer station. Wayno's provides municipal curbside pick-up in Lancaster and this service includes sorting recyclable items.

The major costs of operating — transportation, insurance and tipping fees paid to the two nearby landfills, North Country Environment Services in Bethlehem and Mount Carberry Landfill in Berlin — are pretty similar across the local industry, said Tricia, the only thing we can do better than our competitors is customer service. "We go over and above," she said.

The couple also knows how to stretch a dollar and is cautious about debt. Wayne has become skilled at maintaining and repairing his own trucks and regularly repairs, rather than replaces rusted-out dumpsters. It cost $599 to purchase a new dumpster, he said, but he can rebuild one for $250. They all have the trade mark "Wayn-o's" imprinted in old-fashion, block-letter stencils.

For years, they relied on used garbage trucks, but recently they purchased a new one. At a cost of around $135,000, it was an agonizing decision, but the manufactures were willing to make deals. Wayne remembers saying "how can we ever afford that," and Tricia responded, "What's the worst thing that can happen? They'll take it away." She also remembered when one of the old packer trucks broke down and they had to empty all the dumpsters by hand. Purchasing the new truck turned out to be a good decision and saved on repair and maintenance costs.

Wayn-o's has expanded steadily and they are now providing service to the Littleton-Bethlehem market, but that hasn't distracted Wayne and Tricia from some of the closest customers. On Christmas day, Wayne made a trip to the Weeks Memorial Hospital to empty their dumpster. They operate around the clock, he said, and the holiday conflicted with a scheduled pick up. "It only took a couple hours," he said, "It's not a big deal. I've got to get everything done or it bothers me."

To see a video interview with Wayne and Tricia Frenette go to www.WhiteMtNews.com.

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