BAR HARBOR — When Tyler “Derby” White and Tyler Wood of Bar Harbor met hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2016, the two never imagined they would one day be operating a business together.
Throughout their Appalachian Trail journey, the two Tylers continued to cross paths, but eventually White pulled ahead. That was until he busted his knee falling from a mountain just before he entered Maine. The injury laid him up for three weeks. When he got back on the trail, he again found Wood. The two summited Mount Katahdin, finishing the trail together.
White, originally from Louisville, Ky., ended up in Bass Harbor and founded Derby’s Junk Removal in November 2020.
“I was kind of tired of having to punch the clock when people told me to,” he said.
Soon White began to get calls for big jobs at banks and from real estate agents, and he began to take his business more seriously. He contacted Wood to ask if they could be business partners.
With a trailer they purchased for $5, their side hustle soon bloomed into a full-on junk removal company. Their company’s catchphrase is “liberate your space.”
“I didn’t know if the business was going to work or not, but I thought I might as well give it a try,” said White.
The business has grown a bit more every month with new and repeat clients. “We truly do take a lot of pride in the relationship with our clients, which has really helped the business,” White said.
When removing items, they try to be environmentally conscious.
“We find ourselves using Eastern Maine Recycling [in Southwest Harbor] and we try our best to use DM& J [in Ellsworth] a lot,” said White, who added that clients always get the first chance to reclaim their treasures. If an owner doesn’t want the more valuable items, they are sold or donated.
“There’s so many people who can’t afford things like nice dressers or toys that we find, so instead of taking the things to the junkyard, we try to take it to families who need it,” White said.
The two try to be as transparent as possible with their clients about what they find, which forms stronger business relationships.
“We cleared out a garage one time and there was a safe in there,” White said. “We opened up the safe and wrapped in newspaper was a solid gold Freemason ring that this guy’s great-grandfather had. We actually ended up giving it back to him before he went back to Pennsylvania.”
For more information about Derby’s Junk Removal, visit derbysjunkremoval.com or call (207) 669-0973.