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ALTON - Sparks Junk Removal & Hauling has been a Riverbend staple since 1993, but their newer trash pick-up services have been a huge hit with residents over the past five years.
The company offers clean-outs, furniture removal, trash hauling and light demolition services. They also strive to be eco-friendly, so they recycle and repurpose items when possible. Owner Denise Sparks noted that people seem to love her company as an alternative to bigger trash removal organizations that have spread throughout the region.
“For me, number one is customer satisfaction. That’s it,” Sparks said. “My goal is to pull myself off of the trucks so I can be out in the community more and continue to make that customer service excellent and continue to build.”
As part of that goal, they have expanded their warehouse and will soon open the front half as a shop, where they will sell some of the furniture and other big items they pick up that can be reused. Sparks encourages people to recycle and give back as much as possible, principles that the company itself tries to follow.
“[People] don’t want Grandma’s hand-me-downs. They don’t want Mom and Dad’s hand-me-downs. They want to go to IKEA,” Sparks said “But we’ve got beautiful hutches in there, two or three really nice solid wood dining room tables and chairs. And…we have given items to local charities. I like to give back and help those who are less fortunate.”
To that point, the company’s website offers “compassionate” clean-up in hoarding situations, as well as a valet trash pick-up service for people who can’t bring their trash to the curb. Sparks herself is often involved in the valet pick-ups.
“If you are elderly, I will come in your kitchen, I told one lady, and I will take your trash out,” she said. “Whatever it takes. Because I’ve got 88, 95-year-old people who cannot push their can down to the curb…I have a disabled veteran, he used to be a neighbor of mine. He cannot push his can to the curb, so we go up and we get it for him, because other companies won’t do it.”
This attitude might be one of the reasons why so many people in the Riverbend community want to work with Sparks. Many towns have contracts with bigger trash companies, which prevent residents from using other services. But as more people express an interest in Sparks’s company, she hopes to expand their reach in the future.
“It is for select neighborhoods because you have to remember, the current provider has contracts within townships like Alton, Bethalto, Worden, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon,” she explained. “So the municipalities that we are covering are Elsah, Grafton, Godfrey, Cottage Hills, Meadowbrook, Moro, Brighton, all down Fosterburg Road, and they’re begging me to come to Jerseyville and Bunker Hill.”
They also work with some other neighborhoods in unincorporated areas. If people are unhappy with who their municipality has decided to contract with for trash services, Sparks encourages them to speak with their local government and advocate for a change.
But in the meantime, Sparks Junk Removal & Hauling is enjoying the growth of their business. They have received mostly positive feedback, though Sparks does remember a customer who canceled the service because his wife didn’t like the color of the trash cans, which are purple and yellow.
“They stick out like a sore thumb,” she admitted, laughing. “And what’s funny is, when we were branded almost five years ago, I never even thought — those are my high school [Civic Memorial] colors. That’s really ironic. Taking me back to high school, the good old days.”
As the company grows, these days are looking pretty good, too. To learn more about Sparks Junk Removal & Hauling, visit their official website or Facebook page. If you would like information about pricing or a quote on a specific project, you can also text or call directly Sparks at 618-781-1407.
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