Excerpts from Founder Willis Johnson’s book Junk to Gold. Johnson describes Copart’s early beginnings with the first yard he purchased in Rancho Cordova.
“I never stopped dreaming big and looking for something better. I wanted more for my family, and I knew the only way to do that was to put fate in my own hands and start my own business.
Also, like my dad, I just couldn’t shake my love of the dismantling business. I took some time off to try to find a wrecking yard to invest in. I knew we had already earned some equity in our house, and my plan was to use that equity to buy a dismantling yard of my own.
I found a little five-acre auto-dismantling yard in Rancho Cordova called Rand’s Auto Wreckers. The owners were in their sixties and ready to retire, so I asked them if they wanted to sell. They told me they did. I was very lucky so many people believed in me. Our families were all very close and supportive, and they wanted to help us.
When the deal was done Joyce (my wife) and I stood at all four corners of the yard and dedicated the business to the Lord. It was the beginning of a tradition that would carry out through the rest of our lives.”