Service Centers
Wednesday | 01 April, 2009 | 7:11 am

How Baker does it

By Modern Metals' staff

April 2009 - The term "Southern hospitality" is thrown around a lot, but it is rarely used in reference to a steel tube and pipe business. Yet that's the premise on which 30-year-old Baker Sales Inc., Slidell, La., has built its reputation.

On Dec. 5, the company, led by president and founder Robert A. Baker, marked the occasion with the grand opening of its new office and warehouse, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony overseen by the Slidell Chamber of Commerce. And although the 30-year benchmark made for a momentous gathering, it was the resurgence of the Gulf Coast region that was the greatest source of pride.

Keeping it close to home
Even after 30 years, Baker's client list doesn't look all that different from the way it did at its inception. Various international relationships have blossomed over time, but the bulk of the sales remain relatively geographically confined. Firms like Alexandria Iron & Supply, Alexandria, La.; New Orleans Steel & Equipment Co. Inc., New Orleans; and smaller operations such as Ben Shemper & Sons Inc., Hattiesburg, Miss., have maintained business ties with Baker because of the convenience, and the sense of reliability and comfort.

Baker's reputation for efficient and accurate deliveries also plays a role in its customers' loyalty. Rather than outsourcing, the staff continues to supply and deliver a range of steel pipe and fence products in mass quantities while accommodating customized orders within a certain time frame. The local-company appeal also applies to pricing, as larger firms, such as New Orleans Steel & Equipment, opt to stick with a consistent rate rather than try their luck elsewhere. Monthly specials and same-day deliveries only add to the benefits.

In that same vein, the grand opening and 30th-anniversary celebration were an appreciation of local stability. Just a little more than three years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged much of Louisiana--and particularly the New Orleans metro area--Baker Sales reasserted its commitment to the region.

"The devastation brought on by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav brought many hardships to our company and our employees," said Baker in a press release. "However, the recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast area has provided an opportunity for us to grow and expand our business. With the addition of our new 20,000-square-foot facility, we plan to greatly increase our products and services."

A bayou renaissance
Baker's bold statement is contingent on several factors. Although the collective reconstruction of the Gulf Coast has certainly buoyed remaining businesses, there's no guarantee of continued expansion. Out-of-state companies remain hesitant to make long-term commitments, and constituents continue to deal with their own issues.

But Baker remains optimistic, emphasizing the potential of government stimulus plans and a gradually stabilizing housing market. He stresses that he feels the best is yet to come for his company and cites historical stock market trends, as well as foreign investments, as further support of his outlook. MM

Current Issue


October 2014

Gearing up for 2015
Tackling foreign policies, regulations, trade balances and capital plans, here are forecasts for virtually everything.





Modern Metals on Twitter

White Papers

More White Papers >

Industry Partners

Alloy Bar Products

Custom Rubber Products

Metals Distribution

Service Centers

Sierra Alloys Royal Rubber Co. ThyssenKruppnMaterials NA Heidtman Steel Products


Cutting Software

Perforated & Expanded Metal

North American Steel Alliance
Channel Alloys SigmaTEK Systems McNichols Co. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company


Cutting Systems

Plasma Technology

Thickness Gauges

Gerdau Messer Cutting Systems, Inc. ESAB Welding & Cutting Products Compusource Corporation




Enmark Systems, Inc.
Steelmax Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. Allor Manufacturing Inc.

Stainless Steel

CNC Cutting (Plasma, Waterjet, Laser, Router)

Financial Services

Artco Group Stainless Sales Corp.
Multicam Inc. BMO Harris Bank Churchill Steel Plate Ltd Straub Metal International

Coated Coil

GE Capital Finance Ranger Steel

Stainless, Nickel, Aluminum, Pipe, Tube & Bar

American Nickeloid Metals

Investment Banking

Precision Grinding

Prudential Stainless & Alloys, L.P.
Centria Coating Services Brown Gibbons Lang & Company Joco Precision Grinding


Metal Coaters

Laser Technology

Profiling Software


Coil Processing

AltaMAR, Inc. FastCam Pty Ltd. Central Steel Service, Inc.
Bradbury Group Amada America, Inc.

Rolled and Extruded Aluminum Products

Parker Steel Co.
Braner USA LVD Strippit Aleris Rolled Products SSAB
Burghardt + Schmidt GmbH Mitsubishi Laser-MC Machinery Systems, Inc.

Sawing Technology

Summit Steel Corporation
Butech Bliss

Machining Centers

Behringer Saws, Inc.

Steel Fabrication

Formtek-Maine Handtmann CNC Cosen International, Inc. Voortman Corporation
Herr-Voss Stamco

Material Handling

Cut Technologies Metal


IMS Systems, Inc. Canrack Metal Center Systems DoALL Sawing Products TSI Titanium
Leveltek Samuel Strapping Systems HE&M Saw


Machine Concepts Steel Storage Systems Inc. Kasto Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp.
Red Bud Industries The Caldwell Group, Inc. Metlsaw Systems

Tube & Pipe


Metal Alloy Analysis & Verification Independence Tube Corp.

Copper & Brass

Thermo Scientific Niton Analyzers Scotchman Industries, Inc. National Tube Supply Company
Christy Metals Inc.

Metal Finishing & Deburring

Wikus Saw Technology Specialty Pipe & Tube
Farmer's Copper Supermax Tools


Turnkey Finishing System












TECHNI Waterjet


twitter facebook linkedin rss