Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Trash to Treasure

Joe Kaminski (12) details and restores cars through his dad’s dealership
Vincent Hsiao
Joe Kaminski stands next to a recently detailed car in his dad’s dealership. Joe K’s Used Cars has been in business for over 10 years. “My dad broke off from my grandpa and began the dealership because he knew how to do it and wanted to start something of his own,” Kaminski (12) said.

A 1987 passenger van that has a broken engine may look like trash to the untrained eye, but for Joe Kaminski (12), it’s an ideal purchase. He buys the van for $300 and walks away knowing that profit is inevitable with some cleaning supplies, a toolbox and some elbow grease.

Kaminski began his vehicular endeavors by watching his dad sell cars at his dealership, Joe K’s Used Cars. He enjoyed watching and soon learned the niche of detailing and fixing used cars.

“The business was struggling a little bit and he needed some extra workers,” Kaminski said. “I wasn’t employed, so I thought it would be a great start to my working career to work for my dad.”

It didn’t take long for Kaminski to learn about the business. Following in his dad’s footsteps allowed him to learn the innerworkings of cars.

“I would go out to the car auction with [my dad] because he has a dealers license,” Kaminski said. “He would teach me how to look at cars and make sure everything’s looking good on them. I like spending time with him and learning the business through him.”

A large aspect of detailing and reselling cars is having an understanding of  what cars need. The higher level the understanding, the more likely costs are minimized and profit  is maximized.

“Sometimes there’s small issues that sellers don’t catch,” Kaminski said. “That’s one of the pros of going in and looking at the cars yourself. If you can find little issues you can buy the car for less and make a lot more money.”

There are other factors that impact the selling price of the car. Comparing and waiting for offers, for example, can determine the profit that will be made.

“If you want to sell a car quickly and make a small profit you can do that,” Kaminski said. “But if you want to hold onto it for a little bit longer then you can make more money.”

Kaminski doesn’t plan on leaving the dealership any time soon. “It’s taught me a lot about communication,” Kaminski said. “[I like] getting to know people and being open and honest with them. One day I could end up taking over depending on how well I work.”

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About the Contributors
Will Kodner, Staff
Junior Will Kodner is a staffer for Panorama. This is his first year on Panorama. Apart from Panorama, Will likes to play saxophone and build Lego.
Grace Huewe, Staff
Junior Grace Huewe is a staffer on Panorama. It is her first year. Grace enjoys shopping and often wastes all her money on clothes and then complains that she has nothing to wear.
Vincent Hsiao, Photo Editor in Chief
Sophomore Vincent Hsiao is the photography editor in chief for Panorama. He was previously a staff photographer for Ladue Publications where he significantly contributed to photos in both the Panorama newsmagazine and Rambler yearbook. Outside of photography, Hsiao is on the Ladue swim team and has been a swimmer since he was six.

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