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2016 Young Retailer of the Year: Kyle Martinez

Kyle MartinezOver $2 Million in Sales

Interstate Building Materials, Many, Louisiana

Kyle Martinez had a dream to own a lumber and building materials retail operation, and when the time was right, that hope became a reality practically overnight. Since he was 10 years old, he had worked at his grandfather’s lumberyard. Then, in 2014, a lumberyard in Many, Louisiana, came up for sale. Seeing the opportunity to pursue the business he had always wanted, Kyle created a business proposal with a timeline for setting that plan into motion.

Taking the gamble that his plan would pay off in the end, Kyle made some aggressive and smart moves as he started the initial process of acquiring the lumberyard. He purchased his first delivery truck and several loads of lumber to jumpstart his business with a full load of inventory. He also hired two friends to help with the work that needed to be done in setting up the business. Getting that initial team together was critical in making the business a success, Kyle says. “If there was any genius in my part, it was in finding two very talented people and putting them in a situation where they had the resources, freedom and mandate to help build this company,” he says.

Kyle started making deliveries the first day the lumberyard was open. Sales have been strong ever since. Today, less than two years later, the company has five delivery trucks and 14 full-time employees.

Interstate Building Materials has been popular with contractors and builders due to its well-stocked store and the way Kyle is able to serve his customers with accurate estimates on material needs for a building project. The business also has a staff who highly emphasizes customer service. To keep improving that service, Kyle focuses on continuing education for himself and his team by mentorships and by utilizing online training tools from the North American Retail Hardware Association.

While Kyle is still fairly new in town, he’s been quick to establish himself as a leader. He has served as president of the Sabine Chamber of Commerce, treasurer of the Sabine Paris Tourist Commission and parish trustee of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. As a chamber member, Kyle welcomes new businesses to town and encourages economic development in the area. He also worked with several other young business owners in the area to create the Sabine Young Professionals group to draw more young members to the chamber.

Watch Kyle’s video here.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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