Family legacy and family tradition resonate strongly with brothers Dale and Howard Lepovetsky, third-generation owners of Industrial Steel and Pipe Supply Company in St. Marys. The company, which sells various types of steel, plastics, piping and other products for commercial and retail use, is proudly celebrating its 75th year.
"It feels nice. It's still one of the very few small companies that's actually family-owned in the area," Howard said. "We thought it was quite a [mile]stone to celebrate."
Their third-generation business sprang from humble beginnings when their grandfather emigrated from Kiev, Russia and began collecting rags and paper in St. Marys, then recycling it in Pittsburgh and bringing back fresh fruit to sell to local families. He began a number of enterprises that included a bargain store, dry goods store and an establishment that sold meat and vegetables. He began the Industrial Salvage Company in 1936 in the former Shawmut Railroad roundhouse on Railroad Street.
The current owners' father, Jack, joined the family business in 1944. Over the years, he realized that changes were taking place in the scrap metal industry and felt the company should adjust to meet those needs, so in 1963, the company was renamed as the Industrial Steel and Pipe Supply company and shifted its emphasis from scrap and salvage. A number of years ago, the business moved from Depot St. in downtown St. Marys to a new location on 180 Environmental Dr. off of Bucktail Road.
Dale said the new location provides more storage space for the company's inventory and is much easier for big trucks to access.
"Deliveries love it," Dale said.
In addition to providing products such as pipe fittings, cold-finished steel, drills and tubing, the company also continues to buy scrap from both businesses and individuals.
The brothers want to remind people that they also sell to the general public.
"The name is kind of misleading. When it started, it was more of the industrial lines. But over the years, we've diversified to a lot of retail sales," Howard said.
"Most of the steel items - we're one of the few distributors for a lot of the items in a probably 50, 60-mile radius at least," Dale said.
"Stocking (and being a) distributor is our big thing. We carry a very large inventory for this area, because most of the time when companies need it, they need it now," Howard added.