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West End no longer in fur, hide business

West End accepts iron, cast iron, copper, brass, aluminum, lead, car bodies, aluminum cans and batteries, according to its website.

west end heavy equipment 031022.jpg
A crane operator places some long sheet metal into the Sierra Shear at West End. The large machine is used to cut metal to length, crush and bale items such as appliances and automobiles.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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Editor's note: This story and accompanying photo are advertorial content that is part of the 2022 "Jamestown Has It" special edition of The Jamestown Sun. The annual Progress Edition features stories on unique experiences in small business, dining and culture in Jamestown.

West End Hide, Fur & Metal Co. is no longer doing anything with cattle hide, deer skins or furs because of the market conditions but will continue to do scrap metal recycling and distribute new steel, aluminum and stainless and structural products, according to Jeff Oster, co-owner of West End with his brother, Mike.

He said the marketability of the hides and furs has changed dramatically from 30 to 40 years ago and it was not feasible for West End to maintain that portion of the business.

“We traveled the whole state of North Dakota, parts of South Dakota, Montana to service the cattle hides and deer hides up until two years ago,” Oster said. “It just turned into a service industry where you couldn’t charge enough to make it work.”

He said West End has grown over the last 15 to 20 years. What turned the scrap recycling around was the market for it from 2004-2006, he said.

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West End accepts iron, cast iron, copper, brass, aluminum, lead, car bodies, aluminum cans and batteries, according to its website.

Oster said West End is trying to change its image. A sign was made for its building along with the slogan “Scrap With Us.”

West End, which was established in 1958 by Oster’s father and two uncles, originally started on 13 acres of land at its location and grew to 35 acres about six or seven years ago to expand its recycling operations to the south.

“We added more new equipment back then and we are continually adding more recycling equipment to our operation,” Oster said.

West End installed a digital scale and cameras and redid its scale area so it can weigh semitrailers. West End has also been adding equipment over the years including a stationary scrap shear, cable crane, material handlers, horizontal nonferrous baler and cube baler for vehicles.

He said the goal is to get the center of the yard south of the building cleaned up, leveled and make it more customer friendly. He said West End will see more upgrades to make the place more customer friendly.

“We aren’t done yet,” he said.

Oster said West End has a good core of employees who have worked there for many years.

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“Good employees and good customers, that’s our lifeblood,” he said.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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