Berenice Leombruno has the mettle to make it big in recycling business

Berenice Leombruno

Thomas Edison once said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

The timeless meaning of those words was imparted upon Berenice Leombruno at an early age by her parents, even before they were exiled from Cuba. It is a lesson that has stuck with her ever since.

Theirs is a story of hardship and determination to survive, Leombruno explained. She and her family fled their homeland in the late 1970s, leaving Cuba behind with only the clothes on their backs, no knowledge of English, no jobs, and no apparent means of sustenance upon arriving on American shores at Key West.

“We had literally nothing, but what we did have was a lot of faith and determination to succeed,” Leombruno recounted.

The family made its way up to Miami and, after working in the scrap industry for a few years, her parents opened their own scrap yard in 1987 — the first ever in South Florida to be owned by a Hispanic. She recalls warmly, over the years Leombruno and her three brothers took turns working side-by-side with their parents in the family business.

“I will admit, it was tough going, but it made us stronger as a family and gave us a work ethic like no other,” she said.

Determined to get a good quality education, Leombruno enrolled at Nova Southeastern University, earned a degree in Special Needs Education, and dedicated herself to teaching for 12 years.

“But something was missing. Apparently I still had the family bug for business,” she noted.

And so, in 2010, Leombruno started her own scrap metal business, making her the first and only Hispanic female scrap metal owner in all of South Florida — another family first.

Now, her successful business, Florida State Scrap Metal located in southwest Miami-Dade, is celebrating its seventh year serving Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

“As a wife and mother of six, I feel blessed for having the full support of my family. Without them, this journey would not have been possible,” she added. “People want to say the American dream is dead. Well, I’m here to say it is very much alive — and my family and I are living proof.”

With a motto of “Recycling for a Better Tomorrow,” Florida State Scrap Metal uses modern digital scales and offers extremely competitive prices of nonferrous metals. Leombruno said she is looking forward to continuing to serve her community with its recycling needs.

Florida State Scrap Metal is located at 10608 SW 184th Terr., Miami, FL, 33157. For information, call 305-741-9980 or send an email to

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