Maloney shares tales of business success

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June 29, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Ray Maloney narrated the tale of how he successfully took an idea and turned it into a thriving business Friday morning at See, Hear Iola.
Maloney owns Ray’s Metal Depot in LaHarpe.
While attending Iola High School Maloney worked with his father and learned a lot about carpentry. After graduating in 1980, he took on at the former Diebolt Lumber in LaHarpe.
Six months later he made the career move to Klein Tools north of Moran and worked his way up to night shift foreman. In 1990, things weren’t going too well for the business and he came up with the idea to create a recycling center.
“We didn’t have one at the time and I liked taking stuff that no one else could sell and make something of it,” Maloney said.
After three months of discussions with LaHarpe City Council Maloney got the approved to purchase the site at 320 U.S. 54 in LaHarpe in June 1991.
All this time he kept his job at Klein Tools, working until 3 a.m. only to turn around and wake up at 8 a.m. to work on items for the recycling center.
“At first I was kinda scared to take the leap to full-time,” Maloney said.
But when he was laid off at Klein Tools later that year, the decision was made for him.
Maloney worked long hours to support his wife and two children. He said he had to work hard to become successful.
“Make sure what you get into you absolutely love,” Maloney advised. “You’ll be eating it and sleeping it for a long time. You’ll work from sunup to sundown.”
Maloney said it took a while to realize a profit.
“You gotta eat a lot of green bean sandwiches for the first few years and then things get better and you can put a piece of bologna on it,” Maloney said.
Maloney said it is sometimes difficult to find those who know how to work with machinery or do manual labor. He said he would like to work with the Iola school district to start up a vocational technology program.
“I can’t tell you who the 23rd president is or how to dissect a sentence but I know how to use these,” he said as he held up his hands.
Ray’s Metal Depot is open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TONY Godfrey talked about CITF/PRIDE’s newest project, the Elm Creek Disc Golf course. CITF/PRIDE works to make Iola a healthier, more beautiful community. Past projects include painting downtown buildings and placing historical signs around the square.
After noticing a lack of entertainment in the community for college-age students, Godfrey got the idea for the disc golf course.
“Other cities are installing disc golf courses and it’s becoming very popular,” he said.
CITF wrote a grant for the course to be placed in the Elm Creek Park on South Washington. Of the $25,000 grant, $10,000 was used for the course and the other portion will be used for a pickleball court on North Cottonwood.
“This course isn’t just for one group of people, it’s for all ages,” Godfrey said.

ROXANNE Hutton, Iola city clerk, gave the city update. Hutton has been the city clerk for nine years. She has six full-time employees who work in her office including a meter reader and billing supervisor.

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