Local business awarded for giving back to community

NicholbyPortrait webreadyNicholbys company YYC Junk has only been around since September of last year, but the company has already reached an important milestone that many other longer-lived businesses have yet to grasp.

“We were awarded the Calgary Chamber of Commerce small business Community Impact Award,” says Nicholby. “This award is for basically giving back to your community.”

Other nominees ranged from a music therapy organization to Market Collective, a group that organizes a market to promote local Calgary culture and arts. But Nicholby’s business and his mission to provide a home for junk ultimately prevailed. YYC Junk offers a removal service across Calgary that finds space “anywhere but a landfill”to store junk.

This so-called “junk” that Nicholby deals with is usually unwanted items from furniture to appliances.

“By far the most rewarding thing is seeing the look on a kid’s face when they get a bed,” says Nicholby. “That alone…it’s one of the moments where you don’t even realize that you have a life where you have everything and you’re comfortable and you’ve never been in that situation.”

Before YYC Junk won the award, Nicholby says people were skeptical that his business actually found a use for the items that they needed to get rid of.

“Now that we got this thing,”says Nicholby, holding up the award, “it helps what we say be true. It gives that sense of trust to people, like, yes, we are actually (donating) it. There’s a reason we have this award.”

Although Nicholby has found his passion in YYC Junk, he was originally planning to become an electrician before he started the business.He says the original idea for YYC Junk stemmed from his previous experiences in the industry.

“So I worked for my two largest competitors, who shall not be named, and I picked up people’s junk and threw it in a landfill. But I noticed that a lot of the stuff we were picking up was still useful, so I was kind of disgusted at that,” says Nicholby.

“Fast forward a couple years, and I decided I really want to be a junk guy, but I could do it better.”

Nicholby says he never thought his business would be as successful as it is now compared to the fall 2014 launch. At first, YYC junk would take jobs from Kijiji listings, and in the process, the team started to get a handle on the business’s identity.

“We started seeing how our brand was evolving, how we found our passion for giving this stuff away,” says Nicholby.

“When you find a niche that no one else is doing that gives back so much, that people find so enjoyable to pick your services for, it really wasn’t that difficult after the first few months because we knew where we were going and why we were going there.”

Even after a year of being in business, Nicholby doesn’t think his job is very hard. 

“We get to help lots of people, it motivates us to keep doing it,” he explains.

“What’s better than,you go pick some stuff up, get paid for it, and give it to someone that has nothing. That feeling is incredible.”

YYC Junk: Turning trash into someone’s treasure

Profile on the founder of YYC Junk, John Nicholby. YYC Junk is a junk removal service that donates anything useable to those in need.

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Photos by Paul Mcaleer

Published on December 3, 2015

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