UPDATE: Recipe for Success

Sometimes the best way to a customer's heart is through his stomach, as Ron and Sally Weihs, president and vice president of R&S Waste Systems Inc., Defiance, Iowa, have discovered. Owners of the small trash removal and recycling company, the Weihs recently published “You Eat the Best, We Take the Rest,” a cookbook with more than 800 recipes submitted by some of their company's 4,500 customers.

Ron and Sally wanted to give something back to the community, which has helped them grow from a one-truck business serving four towns to a company with five trucks and four counties under its belt. The company will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in Oct. 2001.

Once Sally developed the idea for the cookbook, she solicited recipes through local radio advertisements, as well as the company's bimonthly newsletter. A total of 193 people responded, mostly women, contributing 807 recipes.

“Ron and I both like to cook … we like to entertain and try different recipes,” Sally says. She's collected so many recipes over the years that she eventually decided to compile and publish them in a cookbook. Most of the recipes, she says, are for typical Midwestern meals that use beef, chicken and pork.

Sally typed up the recipes, crediting each author, and sent the book to Jumbo Jacks' Cookbook, a local publisher.

Since its release in July 2001, R&S has sold about 140 copies of the 580 books ordered. Proceeds from the sale go to the local food bank in each county served.

“We hope to raise about $5,000 and split that between the four counties,” Sally says. “This is my way of giving back to the communities around here that we serve and that have been loyal to us. If you're close to your customers, they're less likely to let you go.”

The book sells for $18, or $21.50 with shipping and handling. E-mail R&S Waste Systems at [email protected] for a copy.