Innovation, dedication lead Bakers Waste Equipment to success

Jan. 26, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

Most people pay little attention to the fabricated metal bins they throw their garbage and recycling into, but at Bakers Waste Equipment, those bins and containers are constantly being re-imagined and improved.

For the last 33 years, Bakers Waste Equipment has manufactured a large selection of trash containers, recycling containers, trash compactors and other waste-handling equipment, constantly adding new designs and features. It also produces specialty containers aimed at efforts such as grease recovery behind restaurants for biodiesel fuel, for which the company engineered a special theft-preventative lid, and de-watering containers for grease or septic services, organic compost containers and separated recycling containers.

Carson Baker founded the company in Morganton in 1981, and 20 years later it was purchased by Ric Raines, who still owns the company. Today, the company is in the former Broyhill Plant No. 3. The company occupies only half of the building's 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space, but officials plan to expand.

The company produces roughly 15,000 trash containers and 2,000 “rolloffs,” or large, rectangular containers designed to be transported via special truck and rolled into place.

Currently, 105 employees work for Bakers, but it is in the midst of hiring welders and fabricators. Prior experience is a plus, but Burns said Bakers will also provide welding training.

Chris Burns, director of sales and marketing, said the company’s customer service and dedication to quality products has helped it grow in a weak economy.

“More than anything else, we have an exceptional product, taking exceptional care of customers,” Burns said, and as “our competitors cut corners, we stuck to our guns.”

The company had three operations, two in Burke County and one in Catawba County, but consolidated them last year into the single operation on U.S. 321-A in Lenoir.

Bakers Waste upfitted the plant, adding an office area, some painting booths, new cranes and lighting systems.

Bakers Waste currently ships regionally, to the eastern half of the U.S., because shipping costs are high for such large, heavy products.

One area company officials are excited about is compaction, especially large compaction containers for high-traffic areas such as stadiums and airports. The benefits for those businesses include reducing the time employees take to empty trash containers, saving as much as 80 percent of labor time, as well as providing a large space suitable for advertising.