ONEONTA _ Higher metal prices are bringing record crowds to a Southside business, several of those at the scene said Monday.
An employee at Otsego Auto Crushers, counter woman Brenda Boest, said prices went up last week on a number of scrap metal items such as steel. The price for that commodity is at $200 a ton, up about $50 in the last couple of weeks, she said.
These are the highest prices that Boest has seen in her 12 years at the business.
This is the result of worldwide demand for items such as tin and copper, she said. But people are apparently just finding out about the prices and have come out in record numbers, particularly Monday. The last few weeks, she said, there were about 150 to 180 customers a day. But on Monday, there were 239 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
At about 3 p.m., about 15 trucks carrying scrap metal, including junk autos, were on both sides of state Route 23 waiting to enter the auto-crusher lot.
Ryan Herklotz of Franklin said the higher prices had encouraged him and his friend Jim Oren, also of Franklin, to gather what they could for sale. He estimated they had about 3,000 pounds of assorted scrap on two trucks.
Oren said that with the higher prices for steel, an old car could fetch between $300 to $400.
John Gano of East Meredith said he was bringing in a junk car.
"I've been hauling stuff for a long time," he said. "I've never seen it like this."
Although he used to spend about 15 minutes on a transaction at the site, the higher prices made it worth spending the extra time waiting, which could be as much as two hours, he said.
For the most part, customers are understanding, Boest said.
"We are doing our best," she said. "That is all you can do."