The Mom-and-Pop Metal Business of the Kashmir Valley
Photographer Will Warasila profiles a family-owned company in India that sells small steel and iron parts to local merchants and builders.
All photographs by Will Warasila
People think that any business involving metal works on a large, international scale. But the world is full of small metal enterprises. S&K Iron and Steel is one of them. It's a metal yard I found earlier this year in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, India. I spent three days at this family metal yard, which started out selling small metal scraps on a micro-scale. Today, the enterprise has evolved into a solid business. Local merchants and builders come to the yard to find the materials and parts for their projects, and the workers cut and weld the materials on hand to produce the parts that are needed. An entire extended family and a small group of hired workers run the operation. Even the patriarch presides over a stock room that houses a loosely-sorted inventory that must go back decades.
When Americans consider steel and other metal, they think of large beams and brackets carried on flatbed semis. But for most of the world, it’s businesses like S & K Iron and Steel.