Bello Metal Recycling
Located in Windsor, Ontario, Bello Metal Recycling is an integral part of an important network of support services for manufacturning both in Canada and the U.S.
Most people don’t think about scrap yards, but they might be surprised to find out that metal recycling is a unique, highly competitive, dynamic and commodity-driven industry. “The scrap market is always changing; our strategy is always evolving,” says Diletta, co-owner of Bello Metal Recycling. “The only thing we can count on is change.”
The Bello siblings are third-generation scrappers. The original business was started by their great uncle in Torino, Italy and then run by their parents, Mario and Marilena Bello, throughout the 1970s. After immigrating to Canada, the Bello family decided to get back into the scrap metal business. After a feasibility study, they saw that southern Ontario would be a good home for the briquetting process they knew so well.
The Windsor operation began on a small, two-acre site. The family installed two briquetting presses, capable of processing 4000 tonnes of steel turning per month. In 1997, a third briquetting press was added to bring the facility to a 6000 tonne capacity. In 2001, the company expanded even further with three more acres and a new bailing press. To help round out the business, Bello Metal started to process demolition scrap and plant-generated mixed loads, by torching oversized pieces and segregating material by scrap grade.
Although both Mario and Marilena have since passed on, their children Marco, Diletta and Valentina are continuing the family business of recycling. “I still remember going to work with my dad when I was younger and being a part of those dinner table discussions,” Marco recalls. “The education started early on for all of us.” Both Diletta and Marco worked their way up the ranks, starting in the scale house and on the shop floor and eventually taking over the business for their parents. “Since our parents passed away, the three of us have had to come together and move this business forward,” says Valentina. “It’s been challenging, but we have been able to do it.”
Some of that struggle was having to encourage existing clients to stay committed to Bello Metal Recycling. “Sometimes there is doubt from the customers or suppliers as to whether the business will remain successful. We worked hard to make sure they could continue to believe in us, and we have been successful in doing that,” Marco adds.
Bello Metals has many competitive advantages. Not only have they developed a reputation for good quality and reliable service, they also have a young, energetic team. “We are a family business and we adhere to family values. We try to treat employees with respect and consideration, focusing on training and health and safety; scrapyards are not easy places to work at,” says Diletta.
While the scrap metal industry is a competitive one, Bello Metal Recycling has been able to set itself apart. “There are not a lot of briquetters in the market,” Marco maintains. “We have a cold briquetting system and it’s the largest briquette this sector has. In addition, we have been successful in marketing and branding ours as the ‘Bello Briquette.”
It’s interesting that the Bello Briquette has gained recognition in the industry. According to Valentina, the traditional perception of a briquette hasn’t always been positive. “What my family had to do was change that perception and create a great quality briquette that maintains consistency over time,” she states. “Every single load that goes out is as high in quality as the one before it. One of our greatest successes has been getting our name out there, and having people recognize that we have a good product.”
Bello Metal Recycling has a lot up its sleeve. High on the priority list is enhancing other products on its list. “We want to be able to offer diversity to our current customers,” says Marco, “so they can have variety without going to another company to get it.” Also in the plans is finding opportunities by taking advantage of new infrastructure. “At the end of last year, we expanded and bought nine more acres of land,” he explains. “Our first project on that new land was a rail spur, so we can ship inbound and outbound via truck and trains.”
Bello Metal should benefit greatly from this decision. While trucking is a great transportation option for relatively short distances, it can be limiting for conducting business in farther ones. “You can only drive a 400- to 500-kilometre radius before it starts becoming economically unfeasible,” Marco continues, “rail will let us deliver products and buy raw materials outside that distance (to a 2500-kilometer radius) from Windsor. It reaches a lot of North America, so our next goal is to use rail to make new relationships, as well as provide more services to existing customers that have multiple locations across North America.”
“We have always taken a forward-looking approach,” concludes Valentina. “Our main goals are always to gain market share, look at new product offerings, structure new partnerships and take advantage of the synergies they may bring. We’re doing our part to stimulate the local economy and keep it going.” As Bello Metal Recycling moves forward, the family’s dedication, strategy and passion for quality will continue to be key components for its success.