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Business undergoes a transformation

Posted: Friday, Jan 29th, 2010

Sierra Vista is family owned


ALAMOSA — One San Luis Valley family is proving that a challenging financial climate does not have to halt economic growth.

Long-time area business owners Leroy and Rosalie Martinez, along with son Jeff, officially open their latest venture Sierra Vista Lumber & Steel Company on Monday, Feb. 1. A grand opening will be celebrated in April.

The new business is located at the former Lough’s Trading Post site (1301 West Avenue) on south Highway 285, next to the Co-op in Alamosa.

When business owner Jerry Lough retired, the Martinez family bought the property.

“Jeff and I bought this property from Jerry Lough in a handshake one morning. That’s where it started. It was just that quick,” Leroy Martinez said.

The new owners decided to expand the business with the assistance of professionals like lumber manager Jimmy Lopez and truss manager Mike Kinnebrew.

“We have assembled a really good team of employees,” Rosalie Martinez said.

“We do have some really good people,” Jeff Martinez added.

The two managers between them brought more than 60 years of experience to the business.

For Lopez, securing the position to manage Sierra Vista Lumber & Steel presented an opportunity for him to come back to the San Luis Valley where he had been raised.

“We look forward to helping the community. It’s good to come home and have this opportunity,” he said. “It’s exciting to me.”

Kinnebrew built the business’ truss manufacturing area, a unique feature of Sierra Vista. Rosalie Martinez said that previously trusses had to be shipped in from Denver or Albuquerque.

“It’s customer service to have somebody here in the Valley,” Lopez said.

He said in addition to the trusses, the business offers studs cut to order. For example, some housing plans require odd-sized studs, and Sierra Vista can trim the studs, in large quantities if necessary, with state-of-the-art equipment. A 1,000-count order can be processed in a day, Lopez explained.

Sierra Vista will have the capability with computer software to help property owners draw up house plans and provide the materials they need to build those homes from windows and doors to insulation, drywall, siding and hardware.

“Our inventory is very diversified, compared to just a lumber yard,” Lopez said.

Products range from stucco to steel channel. Lopez said a customer came in looking for four-inch insulation, and he was able to locate it for him. Another customer was looking for bamboo flooring.

“Even if you think we don’t have it, we can probably get our hands on it,” Lopez said.

Leroy Martinez said, “Our main interest is to create an efficient type of lumber yard and hardware and steel,” and his wife Rosalie added, “and provide what the customers are looking for, listen to them and see what they want and get it out there.”

Providing convenient hours of operation is also important, Rosalie Martinez said.

Sierra Vista is operating on winter hours currently, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. During the summer the business will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and stay open until 5:30 or 6 p.m., with Saturday hours extended to 3 p.m. The business is closed on Sundays.

The Martinez family has been in business since 1967 with automobile and real estate ventures. All four of the Martinez children - Jeff, Julie, Marcie and Jimmy - work in the family businesses.

“We get to see them every day at the work place which is really neat,” Rosalie said.

Sierra Vista was the name the family had chosen for other ventures so it seemed appropriate for this business as well.

“We came up with Sierra Vista simply because of where we are situated here in the Valley,” Leroy Martinez explained.

The Martinez family and Lopez worked out the design for the property and performed their own contracting. The group built up the Sierra Vista site to include the main sales center that is double the size of the former business, lumber and steel storage areas and a separate building for truss assembly.

The property encompasses six acres and provides ample access and parking for semis and other large vehicles.

Sierra Vista Lumber & Steel Company currently employs seven people but hopes to expand by summer.

“That’s contributing to our economy here in Alamosa. That’s what we wanted to do, stimulate some dollars,” Rosalie Martinez said.

Leroy Martinez said eventually the family would like to expand the business even more. Already orders are coming in from Brighton, Sterling and Fort Lupton, Lopez said. He added that Sierra Vista has a wide delivery range throughout the Valley and beyond.

Call Sierra Vista at 589-3254 or fax 589-3257.

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