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Waste Not, Want Not: Brommer Sanitation Inc. Adopts Sustainable Solutions With the Help of Northwest Bank

Posted by Kent Roos on Tuesday, January 30, 2024

From professor to small business owner. Read how David Brommer continued his family’s legacy by taking over Brommer Sanitation Inc.

Flash back to the 1920s. It was a dynamic time coupled with a booming economy, which prompted new business opportunities like Brommer Truck Line. The company was started by David Brommer’s great-grandfather as a cartage and freight hauling company servicing Sioux Center, Iowa, and the surrounding area. Over a century, the small business grew with the community, adding garbage and solid waste services that included residential garbage collection. As the company expanded, it was renamed Brommer Sanitation Inc., and since then has been led by several generations of the Brommer family.

“After my grandpa and his brother came back from World War II, they took over the business from my great-grandfather,” said David. “Then in the mid-eighties, the company was turned over to my dad and his cousin after they had both served in Vietnam.”

Fast forward to today, and David Brommer is vice president of the multi-generational business. Brommer Sanitation primarily offers solid waste and recycling for residential homes and commercial companies in Sioux Center as well as the communities of Sanborn and Hartley, Iowa. The company also offers a can and bottle redemption service.

From Professor to Small Business Owner

David’s path to working for Brommer Sanitation wasn’t as clear cut as the rest of his family’s. He worked for the company when he was younger but decided to pursue a different path: becoming a professor.

“I started working at the company in fifth grade: sorting cans and riding in the garbage trucks,” said David. “I continued helping every summer until I graduated high school and finished my undergrad at college.”

He went on to earn his master’s degree and eventually a doctorate in climate and geography. After 13 years of teaching, David decided to join the family business and made the move back to Iowa with his wife and two daughters.

“Even though my background is in higher education, I have been able to take what I’ve learned over the years and apply it to being a small business owner,” said David. “There’s a lot that goes into running a business, but I like that each day always brings something new.”

Diversifying the Sanitation Business

Since David took over the business, he has expanded it in various ways, including offering new services like local on-site recycling and document shredding.

“Our company manages about 25 to 28 tons of cardboard each week,” said David. “We bale it and then we get it back to the companies who produce it so they can recycle it. And we do the same with our shredding services, where we shred confidential documents on site.”

Brommer Sanitation has also increased its can and bottle redemption service.

“The State of Iowa’s can redemption law has been in place since 1978, and we've been offering this service since the law was enacted,” said David. “Residents can come in and redeem their cans and bottles with us. Then we sort them for distributors, and they recycle the items.”

On average, the company receives 4 million cans and plastic and glass bottles at its redemption center each year. To keep up with the demand and reduce manual labor, the business needed a solution. A sorting machine was the answer. But, Brommer Sanitation needed to secure a loan to purchase this machine.

Establishing a Relationship With Northwest Bank

David has been friends with Kent Roos, ag/commercial banker, AVP, at Northwest Bank, for many years. He decided to meet with Kent to discuss his idea of purchasing a recycling machine for Brommer Sanitation.

“Kent and I were able to work through the numbers and make sense of how this investment would help the business,” said David. “It was easy to set up the equipment loan and work with Kent. He’s very professional and knowledgeable and I know I'm going to get his honest feedback.”

The company was able to purchase the recycling machine and started using the system in June. The efficiency gains have been tremendous.

“With hand-sorting cans and bottles, we could go through 40 bags a day and each bag holds about 240 cans,” said David. “Now we can process 100 to 120 bags a day. That's how much more efficient this machine is.”

Organic Growth Opportunities

With approximately 12 full-time and part-time employees, David is looking forward to seeing how the company will continue growing its employee base and services in the communities it serves.

“The community that we're in has steadily increased every decade since 1980,” said David. “Our business has been able to grow with the area and expand our services to better meet our customers' needs.”

Another key factor that has led to Brommer Sanitation’s success is the company’s attention to detail.

“Over the years, we’ve strived to give our customers the highest quality of service,” said David. “We pride ourselves in not leaving a mess, making sure we're at a job in a timely manner and providing our services at a fair price.”

Brommer Sanitation found success with the help of Northwest Bank. Let us help you get started, too. Contact a Northwest Bank commercial banker today.

Small Business Financing for the Next Step

You’ve worked hard to build your business. Now make sure it continues to thrive. Local businesses are vital to the community, which is why helping yours grow is our priority.

Talk to a Business Banker Today                                                                                       

The Author

Kent Roos

Kent Roos

Ag/Commercial Banker, AVP


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