Growing with the Community
In 1929, Gus Razore, Josie Razore (no relation), and Mario Torre established Bellingham’s first garbage collection company, then known as City Sanitary Service Company. They quickly grew the company to serve 500 customers, with five employees who collected garbage by horse and wagon.
Agostino “Gus” Razore was born in 1865 in Sant’Olcese Italy. He immigrated through Ellis Island at the age of 16, traveled cross-country via train to Seattle, and eventually settled in Bellingham, where he worked in the truck gardens before co-founding SSC.
In the old days, we often used ‘fire hall’ horses that were trained to respond to the fire bell and pull water wagons to fight fires. Even though they were retired from firefighting duty, they would leave the garbage route and head straight toward the fire hall whenever they heard the bell ring.
Passing the Torch
After nearly 50 years of giving back to his community and receiving honors for his contributions to the solid waste and recycling handling industry, Gus passed away in 1978. Gus’s sons Joe and Paul continued to run the family business, employing several other members of the Razore family.
Today, SSC’s 90+ employees serve over 50,000 customers in Bellingham, Ferndale, Birch Bay, Blaine, and the majority of unincorporated Whatcom County. Paul Razore continues his father’s legacy as SSC president and community advocate.