Matt’s Building Materials Celebrates 50 Years in Business
Matt’s Building Materials, the oldest lumberyard in the Rio Grande Valley, turned 50 this year. To celebrate, the owners put together a fantastic outdoor festival to thank their customers, vendors, employees, and community. On Saturday, May 4th, the lumberyard at Matt’s Pharr location was transformed into a festival ground in the true DIY spirit—complete with live music, food, and games.
Nearly 550 people attended the evening’s Celebration event. Builders from across the Valley were there, and a few of Matt’s Building Materials’ vendors came in from around Texas and neighboring states.
Since this was a celebration of a local business beating the odds and surviving for 50 years amidst the rise of big box stores, Matt’s wanted to make sure to include the hard work of other excellent local businesses. Ribs & pulled pork sandwiches were provided by local BBQ competitive teams “Tom’s BBQ” and “A Ver Que Sale Cooking Crew”; tacos were made on site by a local restaurant “On The Grill”; beer was supplied by the local craft brewery “Big River”; and crawfish was provided by local crawfish enthusiast (and Matt’s co-owner) Jeremy Smith.
The guest of honor was none other than Matt’s CEO Danny Smith. Danny started working under Ira Matt straight after college in 1972. Danny had some experience working in lumberyards, but helping to start a new business was a challenge. As store manager, Danny learned everything he could about the industry, and by 1975 he was responsible for almost every aspect of the company. When Ira Matt retired in 2001, he sold the business to Danny & his wife Diana. Upon taking ownership, Danny changed the corporate structure and gave two of his longtime managers & friends, Oscar Sandoval and Luis Mancillas, a stake in the business. He also gave some of his own share of the business to his 3 sons: Jeremy, Isaac, and Ben.
When asked about how Matt’s Building Materials has survived and prospered all these years, Danny smiled and said, “I tell my boys that it’s about responsibility: responsibility to your employees, to your customers, and to your creditors. If you are responsible, do things right, and make sure that your customers know you value their business and that they are the reason you are successful, only then can the business give back to you.”
With 50 years in business, Matt’s Building Materials looks to the future optimistically. Isaac Smith stated, “We want to continue to grow, to do better every single day. And, as always, we want to work on even more improvements that will result in a better experience for our customers.” In the past 50 years, Matt’s has adapted to many changes, and the company is confident that if they continue to work hard for their customers, their customers will keep coming back for another 50 years.
Story by Nathan Cain