A result of a strategic business proposal in the 1930’s, a dedication to quality and customer service, and a drive to improve the metal service center industry from within, Copper and Brass Sales is excited to be celebrating its 90th anniversary!
In 1931 Sherman FitzSimons, Harry Howenstein and Sherman FitzSimons Jr, principles of FitzSimons Manufacturing, were approached by Revere Copper Products, a producing mill located in Rome, New York, to see if they would be interested in becoming a distributor of their copper mill products in the Detroit, Michigan area. Upon agreement, they established a new family-owned business called Copper and Brass Sales on February 6, 1931. The company remained a family-owned and operated business until it was acquired by Thyssen, Inc. in 1997. A fourth generation of family remains employed by Copper and Brass sales still today.
The Evolution of a Business
Over the years, Copper and Brass Sales has grown through a balance of both strategic acquisitions and organic expansion. Since their small start with just two employees, Copper and Brass Sales has become a leader in materials management and service focused on the distribution and value-added processing of aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, carbon steel bars, nickel products.
Copper and Brass Sales started out in the Detroit area as a red metal supplier to the automotive industry and quickly expanded to Grand Rapids and Cleveland. In 1945, at the end of WWII, they became the first authorized distributor of aluminum on behalf of Kaiser Aluminum. As customers looked for further opportunities with the business, it was only natural for Copper and Brass Sales to expand their offerings into additional metal products, so during the 1970s stainless steel products were added to the material menu along with plastic products in the 1980s.
Throughout their history, Copper and Brass Sales made several strategic acquisitions which increased both their product excellence and geographic presence. Some examples included California Metals in the 1950s, Mohawk Aluminum in Wallingford, CT, and General Copper and Metals from Philadelphia in later years. These acquisitions helped to establish the business within additional industries and expand capabilities beyond just the red metals of copper and brass.
As part of their continual efforts to put the customer first, Copper and Brass Sales continued to add additional locations and plants throughout the US and Canada, expanding sales, shipping capability, and local offerings as the industry called for it. Their nationwide logistics network, developed in the 1990’s, was key to their ability to offer one or two-day service to customers across North America. Their focus on quality and fast service was represented by the company mascot, Snappy Service, who was proudly displayed on their unique red delivery trucks and seen in cities and on highways all around the US and Canada.
Copper and Brass Sales has always been focused on improving and expanding the industry of metals service centers. In 1951, then CEO Curtis Carmichael founded Copper and Brass Servicecenter Association (CBSA), a trade association committed solely to advancing the copper and copper alloy mill products distribution industry. This association still operates with a robust network of copper and brass service centers, mills and platers working together to promote the use of and growth opportunities for copper and brass mill products.
In 1997, Copper and Brass Sales was acquired by Thyssen, which became thyssenkrupp after a merger with Krupp. Since this acquisition, Copper and Brass Sales has expanded into a company with global resources and opportunities as a result of the relationship with other thyssenkrupp divisions in North America and around the world.
More recently, as a way to provide further value to customers, there has been an expanded focus on ease of doing business. That’s been done through value-added services and additional efforts to meet our customers with modern technologies. In 2014, the Copper and Brass Sales online customer portal was created—an expansion into online ecommerce platforms—offering document retrieval and contract release. In the last seven years the online capabilities have expanded to include online quoting, quote and order history, delivery tracking, online invoice payments, and live chat and support.
Next up for Copper and Brass Sales is a fully equipped ecommerce website where customers can not only generate their own quotes but they will also be able to immediately quote their price and delivery dates and checkout to place their orders.
Copper and Brass Sales has always taken a “what’s next” approach to doing business, taking pride in the hiring of dedicated employees who are passionate about the industry, the work, and their customers. You can rest assured that the business will continue to grow in ways that keep them as their customer’s First Choice.
We thank both our customers and our employees for the successes of the last 90 years and look forward to many more years of achievement and success.