ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The last remaining mom-and-pop store in the South Valley is closing after 86 years in business.
Saturday, Brother Martin. Plumbing celebrated not just the business, but someone in that business who touched so many lives.
“Well, we’ve been planning for about five years. He said when you get to around 62, we’re going to close the store,” said Martin Bros. co-owner David Santillanes. pipeline.
The business started in the 30’s until Santillanes and his brother Bob Santillanes took over in the 80’s.
“Originally two brothers started it in 1936 and we took it over in 1936,” Santillanes said.
David and Bob decided to keep the “Martin Bros” name when they took over, and the rest is history. For generations, the store has been a popular spot in the South Valley, where people come to snap up any plumbing products and different hardware items, or just chop it up with the owner.
Some even had their parents bring them to the store when they were kids, and became regulars for most of their lives — George Sanchez, for example.
“I’ve been here my whole life, my dad has been here,” says longtime customer George Sanchez.
But what has brought so many back over the years? this is very simple.
“Customer service, if you treat your customers well and treat them right, they will last a lifetime,” Sanchez said.
But this little celebration on Saturday was not only about remembering all the fond memories of the company, but also about David’s big brother and co-owner – Bob – who is cherished by many.
“He passed away at about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night,” Santillanez said. “I don’t know how to explain it, he’s a wonderful guy, he taught me everything I know, he’s my best brother, my best friend.”
Bob, who died at the age of 75 just days before their farewell party, suffered from various ailments over the past few years.
While Bob was supposed to be part of Saturday’s business festivities, for those who knew him, his memory filled the room.
“It’s a departure, a departure party. It’s a double departure, one for the store and one for Bob, so, Bob’s a good guy,” Sanchez said.
Through food and music, a celebration of life and life’s work caps off this chapter for many in the South Valley.