Family business heads into second generationLONG BEACH - Peninsula Sanitation Service is proud to announce 50 years of service to the southwestern Washington community.

Purchased by Art and Donna Alexander in 1954, PSS began with a Chevy truck, an adding machine and a handful of accounts. Now, 50 years on, PSS is a sophisticated operation with 12 trucks, 18 employees and 4,000 customers.

"When we first bought the business we weren't sure how long we'd stay," says Donna Alexander. "But we discovered the area was a great place to raise a family and operate a business."

In the early years, Art was his own boss and the sole employee. Servicing four routes a week, Art hauled every one of the 30- and 50-gallon drums up and into the truck by himself. Compacting was also a one-man job as Art jumped on top of the pile and stomped it down with his feet.

Billing was Art's job, too, and many customers would only pay if he would personally collect and then stay around to socialize. Some chose to trade for service and Art would often take payment in fresh eggs or fish.

By the mid '60s the business expanded to include all of Pacific County and half of Wahkiakum County. To keep up with the increased demand, PSS hired several new drivers who often logged more than 200 miles a day and serviced customers living miles apart.

In 1982, PSS constructed a transfer station and recycling center. The company's recycling operation, which began by hauling away scrap metal, now keeps more than 1,400 tons of recyclables out of the landfill each year. The company began automating routes in 1989, and today all routes are fully automated.

In 1997, three years before he passed away, Art was given the honor of induction into the Washington Refuse and Recycling Association Hall of Fame. His son Jay Alexander now serves on the Association's board of directors.

Though much has changed at PSS over the years, the business has stayed in the family. The second-generation, brother/sister team of Diane Carter and Jay Alexander now manages the operation and works hard to keep PSS's high level of service intact.

"We're very proud to continue the legacy our parents started," says Diane Carter. "We're looking forward to providing our customers and their communities with innovative recycling and collection services into the next 50 years."

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