A successful business passed down four generations
By BRYCE MARTIN
For well over a half century Baker Metal and Recycling found it necessary to evolve for its customer’s and community’s needs. It’s now going on its fifth generation of family ownership.
Lee and Linda Moore in 1982 became the third generation to lead the company. But Linda Moore really didn’t know what her husband did for a living so whenever she was asked to watch the scrap yard, she hoped for no customers.
Moore’s uncertainty over the business could be tied to the vast array of services Baker Metal offers its patronage.
The many years have brought different provisions and products, from scrap container services, making cattle guards, cleaning areas to accepting recyclables, selling scrap iron and hides and much more.
The business found its modest beginnings in Bowman, N.D., after World War I and The Great Depression.
“We are proud of our history and sharing it with the community,” said Neil Moore.
Baker’s part of the company began in the 1950s when Bernard Becker moved the business to Highway 12, opening up Baker Hide & Fur.
Brothers Harry and Leo Becker moved the business’s scrap yard north of Highway 7 in 1961.
The company maintained two yards, in Bowman and Baker.
“Being it is a family business, the hard work was taught to the children in the families,” said Linda Moore. That’s what led them to take over the business.
Through 1976 and 1982, the business went through ups and downs. When Leo Becker and his wife, Lenore, chose to move to Minot, N.D., Lee and Linda purchased the business. Lee Moore got a truck and slowly began to supply new steel for the welders in the community and hauling scrap.
In 1990, the Pinnow/Case Implement building was purchased to expand the recycling side of the business. With the extension, Baker Metal tried to collect cardboard, glass, newspapers and plastic. But the dream never developed — there was a lack of people to get the material processed and the distance to ship the material was far. There just wasn’t enough recyclable products in the small community of Baker to make the expensive upgrade to process cardboard, paper, glass, and plastic. We even tried expanding to surrounding towns, like Ekalaka and Beach. Someday maybe we can get these products to work in our community.
Lee Moore started working more in the scrap yard “because the boys wanted to computerized,” Linda Moore said. “The coffee can had turned into a computer and Lee wanted nothing to do with computers.”
In 2003, Bruce and Neil Moore purchased Bowman Hide & Fur from their uncle, and turned their focus to develop the business in Bowman. They built a shop and began their reach out into the community. In 2014 it gained a full-time employee that was tasked with the supervision of the Bowman yard and to take good care of customers.
“If it wasn’t for our faithful customers and patronage over the year we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Bruce.
Meanwhile in 2004, Baker Metal and Recycling begin hiring employees.
Baker Metal and Recycling spent years expanding its offices and shop, keeping new equipment to do most of the welding and scrap processing, sheering, bailing, and, recently, just added a new CNC Plasma Table for cutting.
The company lended its success to the hard work throughout the years and finding ways to keep afloat.
“Baker Metal and Recycling is very appreciative of the support the community has given us to be where we are today,” said Linda.
Their goal is to continue growth to meet the customers’ needs and technology. They want to improve the shop and office area and are presently developing a railroad spur used for shipping containters out of city limits.
Baker Metal and Recycling prided itself on its honest reputation and excellent customer service. Over the years it has created jobs in the community, with good benefits, and has supported fellow businesses in the area.
The goal is to “keep smiling,” as Linda Moore said.