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Moore, Clemens & Co

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Savings & Solutions with 105 years of Insurance Service

M i d d l e b u r g

Perry Robinson Never Refuses Refuse

Middleburg

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C. Fred Kohler 540 687 6316

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Photo by Megan Catherwood

Perry Robinson, owner of Robinson’s Refuse, with David Banks and Richard Robinson

By Megan Catherwood For Middleburg Life

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www.middleburglife.net • July 2015

alking trash with Perry Robinson, it turns out, is an inspiring way to spend a summer morning. The Upperville resident founded Robinson’s Refuse fifteen years ago with a small truck and six customers. Now, with 500-plus clients, “we turn away more than we serve,” he said in a recent interview. At the heart of this local-entrepreneurmakes-good story is a hard-work-pays-off attitude. “For 20 years, I worked 80-90 hours a week,” he said. “My initial goal was to just make the money. Now that my company is successful, I’m able to work far fewer hours.” Robinson rides his motorcycle at every opportunity and plays drums regularly with musicians Gary Smallwood, Brian Fox and Andre Fox. Robinson was born in 1966 in Middleburg’s town clinic, located where the police department now stands. He was raised just around the corner “in the yellow house across from Teddy’s Pizza.” The youngest of Richard and Frances’s four children (his parents have since retired to Winchester), he attended Middleburg Elementary and, later, Loudoun County High School. Over succeeding decades, through a variety of local jobs and small enterprises, he built a following that came to depend on the quality services he provided. He credits his father for passing on an entrepreneurial spirit. Through word-of-mouth alone his business has grown exponentially. “I know what I would want,” said Robinson, “and that is what we provide. We come right to your garage or storage place, put your doors up and then down again. We’re clean, as quiet as possible, and leave it as we find it. Most people don’t know we were there.” Robinson has spent all but one of his 48 years in the area, and emphasized, “A whole lot of people here have been very good to me.” Early on, he worked at the Middleburg Exxon where “you get to know everybody around. Detailing cars on the side was my first business and I did that for about ten years.” Over time, he’s received many job offers. “Perry, they say, come work for me, but I have

always wanted to be on my own, doing my own thing.” Robinson is especially grateful to one local “who doesn’t like to take credit, but deserves it.” She saw his potential and told him anything he’d like to do, just let her know. “She helped me get a loan from the bank so I could start a mobile car detailing service.” While cleaning cars at people’s homes, “I would sometimes see piles of junk around and offer to clear stuff out. That’s how it began, by doing small pick-ups. I also had a lawn service,” Robinson continued. “But it was seasonal. I would work for six months, then have to live off those earnings the other six. I was looking for something twelve months a year, and decided on trash collection.” The size of his trucks grew along with the business. Finding his first packer truck was a “then our eyes met” experience. Robinson was strolling Ocean City’s boardwalk with friends one evening when he noticed headlights approaching. Realizing they belonged to the ideal match for his business, he spoke with the driver, made note of the make and model, and set his sights on finding a new one. “It was a huge deal, buying that first big truck,” Robinson said, adding he’s particularly grateful to an area realtor who offered a loan. “He told me at the time if he didn’t lend me the money, someone else would and he wanted to be the one to help. It wasn’t just the cost of the new truck, it was the insurance and maintenance, too. But I also knew the work would become much easier — cutting the job time in half, especially not having to cover up after each stop to keep stuff from flying around.” Robinson wakes most mornings at 4:45 a.m. to begin work by 6, sharing routes with his brother, Richard, and another co-worker, David Banks. A bookkeeper handles taxes and billing. Other than individual homes and farm properties, his largest contract is the incorporated Town of The Plains. His greatest ambition is to some day ride coast-to-coast, “seeing the world on my motorcycle.” Until then, and closer to home, “It would be nice if people would bag everything. Some customers keep their properties so clean, but then dump directly into their trash cans. Bag once if not twice,” is what he’d love to tell them. n

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Middleburg Life, July 2015  
Middleburg Life, July 2015