South Valley plumbing store closes for business after 86 years of service

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – One of the last mom and pop shops in the South Valley is closing for business after 86 years of service.

On Saturday, a celebration was held at Martin Bros. Plumbing not only for the business, but for someone who is part of that business that touched so many lives.

“Well, we’ve been planning this for about five years now. He said when you’re about 62 we’ll close the store,” said David Santillanes, co-owner of Martin Bros. Plumbing.

The business started back in the ’30s until Santillanes and his brother Bob Santillanes took over in the ’80s.

“Originally the two brothers started it in 1936, we took it over in 1936,” Santillanes said.

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David and Bob decided to keep the name “Martin Bros” when they took over, and the rest was history. The store in the South Valley was very popular with the generations that came up with people coming to get any plumbing and various hardware supplies, or to cut it with the owners.

Some people even had parents who brought them to the store when they were children, and have been regular customers most of their lives – like George Sanchez.

“I’ve been coming here all my life, my dad came here too,” said longtime customer George Sanchez.

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But what has kept so many people coming back for all these years? It is simple.

“Customer service, if you’re good to your customers and you treat them right, you’ll have them for life,” Sanchez said.

But this little celebration on Saturday was not only to remember all the good memories from this business, it was also to remember David’s older brother and co-owner – Bob – who was respected by many.

“He passed away on Tuesday evening around 8:30,” Santillanes said. “I don’t know how to explain it, he was a great person, he taught me everything I knew, he was the best brother, my best friend.”

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Bob passed away at the age of 75 just days before his holiday party, after dealing with various illnesses over the past few years.

Although Bob was to be present at their business celebration on Saturday – his memory filled the room for those who knew him.

“It’s a party now and away from you. It’s a double event, one for the store and one for Bob, so Bob was a great guy,” Sanchez said.

With food and music, the celebration of life and the business of a lifetime closes this chapter for many in the South Valley.

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