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Historic Family Owned Business Celebrating a Year in Business Under New Owners

Written by Ben Cox – A family business is back in full swing with third generation owners and a new focus. Ratliff Steel Company has been in Brownwood since the 1960’s, and new owners Si and Stehl Ratliff are dedicated to serving the area’s weekend projects as well as corporate needs.

Opened in an old WW2 tank repair shop in 1963, Jessie “Paw Paw” Ratliff started his business after working as a salesman for another steel company from Odessa. With a large number of orders coming from the Brownwood area, it made sense to open a business in town.

In 1988, Bryce Ratliff took over operations until approximately 2010, the company was then handed over to Shay Ratliff who focused on manufacturing, and Si and Stehl bought the company eight months after it had closed in 2017.

The company sells raw steel for everything from oil field production to the “weekend projects, guys who want to build a BBQ pit in the backyard.” Cut parts, specialty parts made on a pair of plasma tables, as well as smaller pieces cut to order from plate steel are only some of the services offered by the latest iteration of the company.

The company is facing unique issues previous generations did not have to think about, after the tariffs on foreign steel imposed by the Trump Administration. Prices are increasing on a daily basis until American production can ramp up to meet demand. 

“It’s already driven prices up, the American mills are behind,” according to Si. “The end user is going to be affected, big time.”

Prices on steel are only guaranteed till the end of the business day, as price increases are emailed to the company daily. 

Not to say supply is short, companies like Ratliff are selling more than normal because companies are trying to buy steel in larger amounts to keep from paying higher prices for waiting.

The pair stress the importance of family in their daily lives, and thank their families for supporting this venture. Stehl’s wife Sydney, and Si’s wife Nellie and daughter Harbor are the reason they do what they do, according to Stehl. 

They can be contacted via their website.

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