After struggling for more than a year, Bob’s Disposal Service has closed, said Pat Grundmeyer, a co-owner and vice president of the Imperial-based company.
“We had a combination of equipment failure, and we couldn’t find people to work,” Grundmeyer said. “We didn’t have enough people to keep going. I don’t know if it was God’s way of telling me to get out, but I had to make that decision and do it.”
She said the trash removal business, 5844 Hwy. 61-67, closed July 9.
The family-owned business, which was established in 1976, provided services for residential and commercial customers in Jefferson and south St. Louis counties, according to its Facebook page.
Grundmeyer said the business began to struggle in January 2020, and its customer base shrank from 4,000 to about 1,500 by the time operations ceased.
“We had to get rid of a lot of our routes,” said Grundmeyer, 83, of Arnold. “We had drivers, but we couldn’t find loaders. We were paying above minimum wage.”
Monica Hoch, 58, of Sulphur Springs said she had been a Bob’s Disposal customer for 22 years and received good service for most of those years.
In March, problems began, but after the company resumed picking up her trash regularly in April and May, she mailed the business a check for $54.75 in June to cover her service through the end of August. However, the company once again stopped picking up her trash in June, Hoch said.
“For 21 years, (the service) was great,” she said. “They would show up and pick up my trash.”
Hoch said she sent a letter to Bob’s Disposal requesting a refund, but she does not expect to get her money back.
“My expectations are really low,” Hoch said. “My previous bills never indicated a refund or extension of service when my trash wasn’t picked up. I was just kind of out of luck.”
Grundmeyer said family members have been helping her take care of closing the business, which includes cleaning the property the business leased and going through the payment records to see which customers are owed refunds and which customers still owe for past service.
“We will have to see what we have,” Grundmeyer said. “There are people who have paid in advance, and I hope to refund their money. There are customers who still owe us money. We have adjusted everybody’s bills who owed to no longer charge for July and August. I don’t know if they will pay or not; a lot of people owe us.”
Grundmeyer said her husband, Bob Grundmeyer, 81, stopped working some time ago because of health issues, so she was operating the business by herself, which made it difficult to keep the operation running smoothly.
“We just loved our customers,” Grundmeyer said. “Even when we gave up those routes, we had so many people call us and tell us they cared for us. I loved my customers. It is really difficult and really hard.“