Fredericton — The entrepreneurial spirit found in Fredericton has propelled the city into startup stardom, and one man has brought the small-business sector one step closer to economic sustainability.
Downtown resident Paul Keaton, 36, decided to throw his hat in the business ring by starting his own private dump, the first of its kind in the capital.
“I saw a need, and I filled it with garbage,” said Keaton, perched atop his junk pile. “It started a couple months ago when I noticed that the garbagemen weren’t picking up the vast majority of the crap I left at the end of my driveway. They complained that some of it was too heavy, some of it wasn’t packaged in the standard-issue black garbage bags, some of it was toxic waste and some of it was even alive, I’m pretty sure.
“Anyway, I thought, ‘Well if they won’t take it, and it’s their job, I’ll take it and make a killing.’ I started advertising on Kijiji and people have been coming from as far as Oromocto to dump their stuff in my yard.”
Keaton says that although he has received several cease-and-desist notices from the City of Fredericton Department of Engineering and Public Works, he doesn’t plan to let rules stand in his way. “Entrepreneurs have always received pushback from old white guys who are set in their ways. They just don’t see the way forward. I have a vision of a Fredericton just crammed with garbage — and with money.”
For only $5 a pop, residents of Fredericton and beyond can drop off as much as a half-ton pickup truck full of trash in Keaton’s front yard, back yard or driveway.
“I figure the plows will take at least the stuff around the edges away in the winter, and the rest will slowly rot,” said Keaton. “If the neighbours don’t like the smell, they are more than welcome to come talk with me about investing in my business. You know — turn dirty old rotten lemon rinds into lemonade.”
Keaton encourages young entrepreneurs to explore new avenues of funding. “I managed to secure an ACOA grant for $500,000 for this, most of which goes toward the employees I’m going to hire to take my garbage to the real dump when it gets to be too much. If I can do it, you can do it.”