Ten-year-old Vanis Buckholz of Corona del Mar captivated the Newport Beach City Council during a short presentation about his recycling business at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Special cities are made up of special people, and Vanis, you are certainly that for Newport Beach,” Mayor Keith Curry told him after the applause ended.
Vanis, a Harbor View fourth-grader, was invited to speak to the Council about his Re “Cycle” er business that he founded at age 7 after learning about Earth Day at school.
“I was really surprised at how much stuff we threw away,” Vanis told the Council. He began collecting recyclables from friends and neighbors, then expanded his route to include local businesses, the OASIS Senior Center and the Corona del Mar post office.
As the business grew, Vanis added a trailer to his bicycle for collections, and his parents drive for pickups that are further away, and for regular trips to a recycling center in Santa Ana.
Vanis told the Council that 25 percent of his business profits go to help children through the Project Hope Alliance. Another 25 percent goes to overhead, and the rest he must save.
“I love my job and my customers,” he said. “If you see me around town doing my job, feel free to toss a water bottle in my trailer.”
Mayor Curry presented Vanis with a special Newport Beach pin before his presentation.
“Newport Beach is the home of some great entrepreneurs,” Curry said. “And the one tonight is a particularly young but I think outstanding entrepreneur.”
Vanis spoke for about four minutes and asked the Council and audience to check out his business website.
After posing for a few photos with the mayor, Vanis and his family spoke briefly to City Manager Dave Kiff, who had invited Vanis to speak. Kiff shook hands with Vanis and told him he had done a good job.
Outside Council chambers, Vanis said he thought his presentation was “really good.”
“I couldn’t feel my legs for the whole thing,” he said.
City officials said Vanis was the youngest person to make a solo Council presentation in memory.
“Now we write thank you emails,” said Dave Buckholz, Vanis’s dad.
Read an earlier story about the Re Cycle er business here.