Brooks Industrial Metals
Brooks Industrial Metals is a southeastern Alberta-based full service steel centre company that supplies an extensive range of steel products.
Beginning in 1966 as a small radiator repair business with a side scrap metal recycling yard, Brooks Industrial Metals has grown into an 11-acre operation employing a team of nearly 50 staff, ideally situated in a serviceable location to the booming Alberta oil and gas industry. Through this growth, the company has held its unwavering commitment to consistently offer the greatest quality products and service, all at a competitive price.
As the company website summarizes, “We want to understand your unique business challenges. Our knowledge staff will understand your business, its goals, and challenges that together we can tailor solutions for you. In today’s globally competitive markets, keeping our customers satisfied and winning over new business is not easy, but through helping you better your business, we can better ours.”
Over the years, the company added a larger fabrication shop to its existing office, used today to offer a variety of added-value services, including shearing, bending, and water jetting, as well as bandsaw, plasma, and laser cutting to perform more accurate metal cutting. The company also retails a wide range of welding supplies, which gives customer an ‘all in one’ location to purchase their product needs.
John Duenk, President of Brooks Industrial Metals, whose father founded the company, told The Canadian Business Journal, “I have always enjoyed building things. We bought a small shear to offer value-added services, but we designed and built our first brake for bending steel in the early years. Several years later, we then bought our first piece of brand new equipment, a larger shear and then a larger brake.”
In offering these added-value services, Brooks Industrial Metals has distinguished itself in the marketplace, where the company has established a niche of offering everything you need all under one roof. The concept behind Brooks Industrial Metals and a key reason for its business success is its commitment to always offering the best suite of products and services to the customer.
“Steel itself has become so competitive that you have to have all the value-added services for the customer,” Duenk explained. “We work for tighter margins, as it is difficult to compete with the big chains and the steel yards across the country that have the big buying power, similar to the big box retail chains, but we also have very loyal clientele.”
Brooks Industrial Metals recognizes that its dedication to service is a key factor that keeps the company competitive with the large conglomerates within the steel industry. At Brooks Industrial Metals, customers appreciate the familiar faces of the long-term staff and their value as a customer, where they are treated as a person, not simply a client number in a database.
“As a one stop shop, customers can come in and pick up all the supplies and materials that they need, whereas a lot of the big boxes in the steel industry are more boxed in with full length sheets and large volumes,” Duenk detailed. “My father always told me, ‘Even though we have some big accounts, don’t forget the little guy.’ It is the small town community atmosphere and our approach toward personal service where we know everybody by name that separates us from the major players and our competition.”
The company’s commitment to customer service was even more crucial through the economic downturn, when diminished commodity values grinded the industry to a halt, particularly with scrap metal. Brooks Industrial Metals accepts recycled ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal materials from casual customers and large, long-time clients, but through the recession the low value of steel left the company to stock pile these recycled materials.
“All of a sudden we got signs of the recession, where in order for us to sell material, we would have to sell it for nearly half of what we originally paid for it, so we had no other choice but to stock pile, and we ended up doing that for about a year,” Duenk summarized. “That period changed the world, where it made prices come down to a more realistic level. In 2007, the year before the recession, we had our best year ever, when the prices were going through the roof, but then the whole world had a correction.”
As Brooks Industrial Metals plans for the road ahead, the company will continue to offer the best value-added services and pursue new added services to attract new clients as the company grows its space in the industry. As Duenk concluded, “Our business is helping customers succeed in producing a better product.”