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Good start for Grand Steel’s new slitter

Keywords: Tags  Grand Steel Products, flat-rolled products, Jim Barnett, Mike Barnett, slitting line, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Grand Steel Products Inc., a small but growing distributor and processor, is now in its second month of running a modified slitter and has produced great-quality mults, president Jim Barnett told AMM during a recent plant visit.

The Wixom, Mich.-based company specializes in buying prime, excess prime and secondary mill coils: hot-rolled; HR pickled and oiled; HR pickled dry; cold-rolled; Galvannealed; Galvalume; galvanized; aluminized; and cold-rolled painted products.

"We are diversified in terms of the number of mills we buy from," Barnett said. Although now-defunct RG Steel Inc. supplied the company with certain specialty grades, Dearborn, Mich.-based Severstal North America Inc. has "picked up the slack," he said.

The company’s customer base is even more diverse, with no single account representing more than 5 percent of total sales, Barnett said. The company’s main end markets are light commercial and residential construction; tubing; mining components; and quite a few major distributors throughout North America.

Grand Steel Products has grown steadily, expanding its staff to 16 employees from six over the past few years, according to vice president Mike Barnett, who is Jim Barnett’s son. Sales doubled to $30 million in 2012 from $15 million in 2007, and the inventory has grown 50 percent. In addition, the company plans to build a new shipping bay and more office space this spring,

The Barnetts realize that they can’t compete with large distributors who can lock in tons and prices for six months, so as a spot-market player Grand Steel specializes in cultivating close relationships with buyers and sellers and rigorously investigating the quality of the steel, Mike Barnett said.

"We are reapplying the material to fit the needs of our customers," Jim Barnett said.

The company uses outside processors to perform leveling, cut-to-length, edge-conditioning and other services.

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