In 1959, Scott’s Grandparents, Dale and Rosalie Mitchell started Mitchell’s Disposal Service in Moline, Ill. from meager beginnings and built it into a sizeable business before their untimely passing in 1981 and 1982, respectively. Scott’s parents, Gary and Linda Downum, were involved in Mitchell’s Disposal Service for a few years. Eventually the opportunity presented itself for Gary and Linda to return home to NE Arkansas and start a business themselves. The first customer of Downum’s- the city of Black Rock, signed on in 1974. Through the years the company continued to grow despite the many hardships that had to be overcome.
Scott began working for the business in May of 1989 at the entry level position as a 3rd generation entrepreneur. He quickly learned the ropes and began managing the operation within a few short years. In 1994 Scott’s wife Kim joined the family business as an office assistant and quickly learned the billing and collection system. Seeing the need to speed up and improve the system Scott and Kim upgraded all office billing, dispatching, and quoting services to a server based system. Web development was put into place and helped the small family business move at the speed of business in the technology age. However, personal and direct service continue to be a key to the on-going success of the company.
In 2007, Gary and Linda decided to retire and sell their shares of the family business to Scott and Kim. Gary and Linda continue working with the company by financing equipment and serving in an advisory capacity. Downum’s Waste Service continues to grow and improve under the ownership of Scott and Kim. In 2008 a metal fabrication department was established to allow the company to build most of their own trash containers and do custom customer design and fabrication of compactor shutes and accessories.
In 2009 Downum’s purchased at bid a large number of roll-off containers from a city sale in NE Arkansas. This purchase allowed the company to acquire several industrial accounts in NE Arkansas. In 2010 several late model trucks were added to the fleet, also major design and improvements were made to their company’s own transfer station. Downum’s has one of the few privately owned, state licensed transfer stations in Arkansas, which was expanded to double capacity in 2010 and 2011.
Currently Downum’s operates several waste routes all across NE Arkansas as well as many local routes. Downum’s operation includes a staff of twenty-five employees, many long-term, some with special skills and all a viable part of the success of the company.
As 2015 moves rapidly along, the company has seen its daily fleet double in size in the past seven years and the volume of business at the transfer station on a steady increase. Recycling projects are a top focus of the company, with a goal to completing a vision that Dale Mitchell had in the late 1970’s and would have been many years ahead of its time. (Dale passed away unexpectedly just prior to the grand opening of the Metro Recycling Center in the Quad Cities area of Illinois)