A Kootman Family Legacy
Marc Kootman has spent his career in the scrap-metal business, and it’s a family affair. His grandfather worked in scrap metal, as did his father.
Kootman began by working as a scrap-metal broker for an Atlanta firm, but soon joined his father’s North St. Louis company. In 1988, he and his brother Mike Kootman formed their own firm, a strong partnership that lasted twenty-five years.
Here’s how businesses like Kootman’s work.
First, employees collect scrap metal from clients, mostly in manufacturing. Then, they separate the material by kind:
Ferrous metals, like steel, contain iron. They’re sturdy but rust when exposed to the elements for long periods.
Non-ferrous metals—like aluminum, copper, and lead—which are non-magnetic, less corrosive, and more valuable.
Next, they ship it to a recycler. The recycler melts it down, purifies it, and forms it into sheets, blocks, or other usable forms.
Finally, they sell the now usable metal back to manufacturers, saving them time and money in the process.
Marc always hoped his three children — Jason, Jonathan, and Katie Kootman — would have an interest in starting a company with him. However, Marc had a prerequisite. He wanted them each to work for a boss that “wasn’t their father” for at least two years.
By 2016, all three of his now adult children had gained experience in other fields. They agreed to begin working together as Trimarc Metals for a one-year trial.
Marc said to them, “We can proceed if all of you remain committed to making the company more profitable and can work together as a team, we can continue to grow our own business.”
Their clients, concentrated mostly in the St. Louis metro area, range from mom and pop shops to Fortune 500 companies.
Working out of a space shared with another recycler, Trimarc started growing immediately. Kootman said, “My kids were really 100% committed. That’s what I wanted to see. I wanted proof they were going to be committed and that this business would have a future.”
North St. Louis Industrial Warehouse Space for Purchase
From the beginning, Kootman started looking to purchase industrial warehouse space to store and process Trimarc’s inventory. His attorneys at Lathrop Gage recommended he enlist the help of Hilliker Corporation’s President, Meade Summers.
First, Summers got to know Trimarc’s needs. The business model relies on a lot of space for both outdoor and indoor storage.
Outside, Trimarc keeps trucks, cranes, front-loaders, and corrosion-resistant non-ferrous metals. Inside, they sort and store their ferrous metals. They also needed a small portion of the building dedicated to office space.
Kootman estimated the company needed 80,000 square feet of warehouse and office space combined with several acres of outdoor storage to run the business properly.
They also hoped to stay near their current location in right around the corner in St. Louis County. Close to I-270, I-170, and I-70, they would maintain easy access to clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Summers and Kootman looked at several properties. Unfortunately, the available buildings lacked the right combination of indoor warehouse and outdoor storage. When they found buildings with enough space, it was clear the zoning would be an uphill battle.
When 665 Cyr Road came on the market, it looked like it could be a perfect solution. Just across the street from where they were leasing, it boasted 85,783 square feet of warehouse and office space on more than six acres of land. With three docks, two drive-in doors, high ceilings, and M-1 Industrial zoning, Trimarc could move right in.
But when Summers and Kootman took a look at the building together, they discovered a problem — one that just might kill the deal.
Working Together to Find a Solution
665 Cyr Road is attached to another similar building — 667 Cyr, which has 20,000 square feet of space and sits on nearly 15 acres of land. The building was on the market as well, but Trimarc didn’t need the extra square footage or nearly that much acreage.
However, Summers caught an issue that would have made it difficult to close the deal at 665 Cyr. In order to meet code, the two buildings needed to build a two-hour fire wall between them. The owners of both properties would have to work together on the project, and the cost could be prohibitive.
Fortunately, Summers was able to help the sellers of both buildings come to an agreement with Trimarc. He worked closely with the brokers for the two owners:
- Dennis DeSantis of Colliers International represented 665 Cyr Company.
- Mark Hejna of Gundaker Commercial represented the Thomas R. Moss, Jr. Revocable Trust, owners of 667 Cyr Rd.
In the end, Trimarc was able to purchase both buildings.
- 106,279 square feet of industrial warehouse and office space.
- 21+/- acres of land.
Though it’s more than Trimarc needs currently, it’s an investment for the future. Kootman will not only be helping his three children grow a profitable business, but they’ll be able to grow into the building over the length of their career.
On Summers’s recommendation, Trimarc hired Shamel Contracting to complete the what little renovation the new space needs to be move-in ready. Work should be completed by mid-September 2019.
Together, Mark, Jason, Jonathan, and Katie Kootman look forward to fourth-generation success.
Real Estate Brokers Who Understand Your Unique Business
Many entrepreneurs will only need to make a significant real estate purchase a few times in their life. And while they’re busy looking and preparing to buy a property, they have a business to run.
They need experts who know the industry, understand the market, and catch possible money-saving deals in places where even well-informed entrepreneurs might not look.
Hilliker Corporation knows commercial real estate. We know what to look out for, and we understand how to negotiate deals that will benefit your organization in the long run. We do so in a manner consistent with our reputation of honesty and fairness.
If you’re ready to move your business — or you’re ready to sell or lease your property — give one of our experienced brokers a call today.