Company History

This article ran in the December 24, 2008 issue of the Washington Evening Journal and it gives a brief summary of the company's history:

Company Built Over Decades by Ken Ross

The story of the Levy family in Washington is a classic example of an American success story. 
      Rather than quick success, as in the Hollywood version of the American dream, the Levy family built a successful steel warehouse business over generations through hard work.
      Mike Levy is the third generation to operate the company named after his grandfather Morris "Mose" Levy New Steel Warehouse. His youngest son, Ryan, has just graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major - Business and Communications. He will be coming into the business at the start of the year as the fourth generation to operate what began as a pushcart scrap business.
      "I can't express my appreciation enough for how hard my grandfather, my father and my uncles worked to build this business," Mike Levy said.
      The Levy family saga began just after World War I at Ellis Island, the arrival point for immigrants in New York Harbor. Mose and Lillie Levy came to America from Eastern Europe to find a new life. They lived for a time in Virginia, then moved to Iowa City and then Kalona.
      Besides a job at a glove factory, Mose Levy collected scrap, recycling material when recycling was simply a matter of economics rather than a trendy thing to do.
      This pushcart operation eventually was built into a scrap yard. The business was moved from Kalona to Washington. It has been at its present location since 1940.
      Mose and Lillie had five children - Joe, Martin, Myron, Harry and Doris. All four of the sons served in the military during World War II. Joe and Myron returned to work in the scrap metal business. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Martin went to work for an accounting firm in Washington, D.C. Harry, Mike's father, hadn't planned on working at the family business but in 1949, soon after Harry earned his degree in political science from the University of Iowa, Myron Levy died in an industrial accident.
      "That accident changed my father's life," Mike Levy said. Because his father and brother needed help at the business, he started working with them.
      The accident also changed Mike Levy's life. He was born the year after Myron Levy's death. Although he has always been known as Mike, his given name is Myron, named after his uncle. 
      "I had a great time growing up playing in the junk yard," Mike Levy said. He did more than just play in the junk yard. His first paycheck from the company was earned at the age of 14.
      The company got into the new steel business in 1958 when a load of scrap metal was taken to Chicago and exchanged for steel. From 1958 to 1972, the company continued to operate both as a scrap metal and a new steel business. In 1972, the scrap metal part of the business was eliminated.
      Harry Levy and his wife, Carolyn, had six children. They did not rely on the steel and scrap metal business to support the family during the '50s and '60s. Most of the revenue from the company was put back into the business as it continued to grow. Mike Levy explained that merchandising steel is a capital-intensive business with a huge amount of capital dedicated to inventory. Harry Levy served as the Washington postmaster for 11 years.
      It was about the time that the business eliminated the scrap metal part of its operation that Mike Levy started working full time for the business. This followed four years at the University of Iowa, already an established tradition in the Levy family.
      There were six expansions of the buildings for the company. Unlike some steel warehouse operations, all the steel at Mose Levy New Steel Warehouse is stored inside. Currently there is 45,000 square feet of space in the buildings.