The evolution of IMS throughout the years
Norman & Sally Sherman opened the doors to IMS in 1948.
It was 1948 when Industrial Metal Supply first opened its doors for business in Burbank, California and the company was a true family operation. Founded by Norman Sherman and his wife Sally, the company began as a scrap and surplus business that used the family’s 1947 Pontiac station wagon as the delivery vehicle by day, and the family car by night.
In the early days Norman would pick up usable scrap at bargain pricing from Lockheed Martin which was based in Burbank, and sell the majority of it to the local movie studios. This business grew slowly, but over time it turned in to a full line metal distribution company. Norman and Sally saw opportunity and knew the metal business well. Over the years IMS went from station wagon distribution to scrap yard store front to multimillion dollar regional metal distributor serving the Southwest.
Through the next four decades market demand for a distributor that sold a broad supply of metals led Norman and his now grown son Neil (currently CEO of the company), to open up a second branch in 1989 that was located in the heart of Irvine. By coupling a strong family-based culture with a business model focused on rapid turnaround of orders, Neil Sherman has continued to expand and grow for the past thirty years.
Between 1995 and 2006 IMS opened new branches in San Diego, Phoenix and Riverside. In 2012 IMS added its sixth location, a store in Tucson. Each new location required an ever-expanding inventory and continual process improvements outlined in the company’s ISO standards.
Over the last 75 years the company is proud of its long-lasting partnerships with well-known mills and vendors that allow IMS to offer high quality metals and products to its customers. Some of the mills IMS works with include Alcoa, Kaiser Aluminum, SAPA, Sierra Aluminum Company, Hulamin, NUCOR, USS-POSCO Industries (UPI), California Steel Industries (CSI), Searing Industries, Hannibal Industries, Vest Inc., North American Stainless (NAS), Phoenix Tube and Revere Copper. Other suppliers that help fulfill the unique and vast inventory of specialty metals and accessories include Hollander, Indital, Lavi Industries, Sculpt Nouveau, Eagle Gate Hardware, and Riverside Corrugated.
In recent years IMS has continued to make significant investments in new technology, equipment and locations. The first Northern California branch was opened in San Jose in 2022, and in early 2023 the Phoenix location moved down the street to a facility twice the size to increase functionality, product offering and throughput. The new warehouse includes an order filling machine conveyer stacker and bundle splitter supported with four overhead cranes.
IMS is constantly finding ways to save time and money for all its customers, and live up to its slogan of “Metal Made Easy” by continually adding services and products.