The Story of a Stockholder
Columbia Metals was incorporated on 10 August 1961. The company’s founder, Chris Stephenson, started the business by storing copper tubes in his own home in London. Over a period of time, and without drawing a salary for the first nine months of the company’s existence, he developed a local customer base and raised enough money for the first big capital investment – an ex-army lorry for deliveries, costing the princely sum of £60.
The company’s next success came when a small warehouse was rented in Haringay, north London, and the stock range expanded to include aluminium bronze. In 1965, Columbia Metals relocated to a premises in the unfortunately named Rust Square in Camberwell, south London, where the business consolidated and grew over the next five years.
By the early 1970s, Columbia Metals was enjoying success far beyond the London area. This led to a decision to expand into a dedicated warehouse in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton in order better to serve customers in the Midlands. In the middle of the decade, this expansion continued with the opening of a warehouse and sales office in Halifax, ideally positioned for the engineering industry of the north and Scotland.
The product range continued to expand. Columbia Metals began to gain a reputation for copper, aluminium and nickel-based alloys to serve the UK’s defence industry. In 1989 this achievement was rewarded when Chris Stephenson was presented with the Sir Ronald Prain Medal in recognition of his services to the copper industry.
In 2017, Columbia Metals opened a new headquarters in Bedford from where its Head Office and southern sales activities are now carried out. The company operates from two strategic locations in the UK and boasts an enviable stock range of copper and nickel alloys, stainless steel and titanium.
Today, Columbia Metals is led by Chris’ eldest son, David. Columbia Metals serves hundreds of precision engineering companies in the UK and overseas and has become recognised as an integral part of the supply chain for the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas industries.