Menu Close

Triple-S Steel rides tide of economic growth, higher prices

view original post

Higher prices and a rebounding U.S. economy helped Triple-S Steel Holdings nearly double its revenues in 2021.

The Houston-based structural steel wholesaler, which reported just over $2 billion in revenues last year, cracked the top 10 of the Chronicle 100’s list of top private companies, landing at No. 8.

“The industrial economy opened up post-COVID, and the steel mills that were shut were slow to reopen. Couple that with import restrictions on steel from the Trump Administration, and you didn’t have the foreign steel imports that would typically provide a relief valve,” said CEO Gary Stein “So the price of steel went way up.”

As a result, sales boomed for the company, whose founding family’s work in the steel industry dates back to the 1920s, when Gary Stein’s grandfather Johnny Stein began working in the scrap-steel business.

Triple-S Steel Holdings was founded in 1960 by Gary Stein’s father, Bruce, who named the company in reference to the first names of his mother, wife and daughte. At 84, he still reports to work every day.

Since taking over as president in 1983, Gary Stein has grown the firm from revenues of about $2 million a year through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. The company made four acquisitions last year.

Triple-S employs about 2,200 people, with almost a quarter of them in the Houston area.

Going forward, Gary Stein is conservative with his 2022 projections. An increase in interest rates will likely put a crimp on new construction and, therefore, steel demand, he said.

He pointed to Amazon’s decision in March to cancel plans for a 2.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Pennsylvania as a signal that construction activity is “frothy” and likely to slow.

That said, Stein notes that interest rates remain low relative to historical levels, which should at least keep demand steady. With Stein’s son Sam joining the company about six years ago, Gary Stein is optimistic about Triple-S Steel Holdings’ future as a family effort.

“We’ve been in the steel business so long that when we stand in the rain, we rust,” Gary Stein said. “I hope we’ll be a family business for generations to come.”