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Garden Street, a locally-owned steel manufacturing business in Fort Myers since 1989, has sold for an undisclosed, multi-million dollar amount, according to the seller.
The David Joseph Company, a division of Nucor, the largest steel manufacturing company in the United States, bought the company Monday from founder Rob Weber.
Weber declined to disclose the sale price.
“It’s definitely an emotional time,” said Weber, 62. “It’s also the right time. It’s going strong. It’s the premier, primary source of welder material, steel and scrap metals.”
Garden Street serves all of Southwest Florida. It has a metal yard and a 46-acre campus at 3350 Metro Parkway in Fort Myers. There’s also a metal yard at 4246 Exchange Ave., in east Naples and one at 220 South Industrial Loop Circle in LaBelle.
“In our industry, you’re not seeing the small, family-run businesses like you have in the past,” Weber said. “The writing was on the wall. We’re kind of a dying breed. When they made the offer, it was time to go.
“They’ve been after me for 20 years. In 2018, we started negotiating. They needed this. When they went from want to need, the price came up. It was like, whoa. We can’t turn that down. It was a fair price. It’s good for us. I’ll say it was good for the community.”
Nucor will allow Garden Street to retain all 116 employees, Weber said.
What remains to be seen is if Weber will be one of them. He said he’s not ready to retire, but he’s not sure of his next move, either.
Weber moved to Lee County from Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1987.
“In 1989, I opened up this business,” Weber said. “It’s been one helluva ride since then.”