Ramirez came to the United States in search of the
"When I was little, we
lived in a dirt floor house in Costa Rica. We didn't
have money for things like shoes or too many clothes.
Everyday after school, I would have to wash my uniform
so I could wear it again the next day. I moved to
America with $500 and got a job cutting grass in a
mobile home park. I hardly had any money so I ate peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches every day," recounts
started making payments to buy a piece of property.
Working a variety of
odd jobs, one day he came to the realization that
catalytic converters in people's cars are made of
platinum. It was then that Tosha LLC, Ramirez's metal
recycling business, was born.
Tosha stands for Tony
Ramirez and his wife Sharon. "It's always been Tony's
dream to own his own business. We actually chose the
name four years prior to the business ever opening or
even knowing what kind of business it would be,"
explained Sharon Ramirez.
When they first started
Tosha LLC, in 1999, the Ramirezes were working out of
their house and a small storage unit. At the time, they
only recycled catalytic converters, that costly part of
your car that controls emissions.
Since it's required by
law that your catalytic converter is always up to par,
this proved to be rather lucrative for the company.
As more people learned
about Tosha, the Ramirezes began to notice a demand for
the recycling of all types of metals, so in 2003, Tosha
opened up a larger, more public location at 1745
Orangeburg Road, and began accepting all metals.
"People are always
pleasantly surprised to find out that they can recycle
their old washing machine, and actually even get a
little bit of money for it," says Sharon Ramirez.
Tosha accepts aluminum
cans, junk cars, parts of old cars, washing machines,
refrigerators, motors, etc. — basically, anything that
is metal and that can be recycled. Your old pieces of
metal are then crushed and bailed," then shipped out to
other companies that melt it all down to be made into
As the world becomes
more environmentally conscious of the importance of
recycling, people are starting to recycle anything that
can be reused.
The Ramirezes feel good
about running an environmentally conscious business that
helps make the world a less polluted place.
With Tosha, everyone
can feel good about getting rid of their junk.
You even get paid for
Owners Tony and Sharon
Ramirez are very excited about what they do, and enjoy
the perks of owning their own company, like being able
to take time off to accompany their church, Cokesbury
United Methodist, on yearly mission trips to Costa Rica.
It's important to him
to be able to help his native people. "In my country,
people move to America to pursue the American Dream.
Many people here no longer believe in it. Sometimes
people need to suffer a bit, but it's possible. I want
everyone to know that the American Dream is still here,"