Dahl & Groezinger, Inc. – Kentucky’s oldest scrap iron and metal processor – was established in 1885 by George Groezinger, Sr. and Phillip Dahl. In 1867, George Groezinger met Phillip Dahl on a ship from Stuttgart, Germany heading for America. George and Phillip were employed by Mr. Lacer to buy hides, wool and pelts for his American company.
In 1885, they formed Dahl & Groezinger at 114-116 Frederica Street in Owensboro, KY. They began buying hides, wool, furs and roots. Over the next decade, the company grew alongside the local economy, shipping its products to both regional and national markets. In 1900, George Groezinger, Jr. joined the firm. He was followed by his brother, Walter Groezinger, in 1910.
Walter Groezinger believed that scrap iron and metals were the future of the business, so he devoted his efforts to growing this part of the business. At the time, hides were purchased from butchers, farmers, and meat packing houses, and were then shipped to tanneries. Both ferrous and non-ferrous material was accumulated before shipping to mills by truck, railroad, or barge.
In 1912, George Groezinger died and George, Jr. acquired his interest. Shortly after the death of his father, Albert “Ike” Groezinger joined the firm. He was joined by Phillip Groezinger in 1920. In 1927, Ike and Walter Groezinger purchased 77 year-old founder Phillip Dahl’s interest. George Jr., Walter, Ike, and Phillip operated the family firm together until 1929, when George retired. His interest was purchased by Walter, Ike, and Phillip.
The Great Depression of the early thirties brought hard times to Dahl & Groezinger. We still own the following hand-written bank note: “Doubtful If This Note Will Ever Be Repaid.” By some miracle, this note – and a lot of other notes – were repaid. In 1931, we lost Phillip Groezinger to an untimely death. Walter and Ike bought Phillip’s interest in the company and operated as equal partners until Ike’s death in 1953. In 1940 William R. Conley, Walter Groezinger’s son-in-law, joined the firm. In 1946, C. M. Kirkland, Walter’s other son-in-law, joined the firm. He departed from the firm in 1969.
Dahl & Groezinger moved from 114-116 Frederica St. to our present location (940 W. 9th Street) in 1954. Green River Steel began operation in Owensboro the same year, expanding our steel markets from railroad and river to a location just 10 miles away. In 1963, Walter Groezinger died and William R. Conley (Billy) became President. He held this title until he retired in 1987.
The 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s were years of expansion for both our markets and the physical plant. The 60’s saw Dahl & Groezinger expand our white metals business while the 4th generation joined the firm: John Drew Kirkland in 1966 and then William R. Conley, Jr. in 1967, both as summer help. Bill, Jr. joined the firm full-time in 1970 after graduating from Vanderbilt University. Drew began full-time employment in 1972 following his graduation from the University of Kentucky. William K. Helwig (Bill) joined the firm in 1974. Bill took an active interest in the equipment and yard management.
William R. Conley, Sr. retired in 1987. He is remembered for taking extra time to train the 4th generation, Bill Conley, Jr., John Drew Kirkland, and Bill Helwig, by allowing them the freedom to expand. Bill, Sr. provided the leadership and vision for the business to follow. He was proudest of what the next generation was doing, not what he had done. Following the retirement of Bill, Sr., George Groezinger’s great-grandsons assumed leadership. William R. Conley Jr. became President, with John Drew Kirkland and William K. Helwig serving as Vice-Presidents. On May 23, 1990, Dahl & Groezinger, Inc. mourned the passing of William R. Conley, Sr. – a friend, teacher, uncle, and father.
In 1995, the fifth generation – William Walter Helwig (Will), Drew Sumner Kirkland and John Sumner Kirkland – joined Dahl & Groezinger as summer help. Also in 1995, William R. Conley Jr. decided to semi-retire. John Drew Kirkland became President and Bill Helwig continued to serve as Vice-President.
In 2002, William Walter Helwig graduated from Georgetown College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and joined the firm full time. Will also played soccer for the Georgetown Tigers. Both Drew Kirkland and John Kirkland graduated from the University of Alabama with MBA degrees in 2003, and joined Dahl & Groezinger full-time. Each also received their undergraduate degrees from Alabama in 2001.
In May of 2005, Dahl & Groezinger welcomed another member of the fifth generation when William R. Conley III (Bill) joined the firm following his graduation from Western Kentucky University. Bill left the firm in September of 2007 to pursue a career in banking.
management to give each customer and consumer the personal attention they deserve. Regardless of the ever-changing business climate, our customers and consumers will remain our top priority. Thank you for allowing us to serve you for 133 years.