After 37 years at the helm of Way-Mar Inc., you might wonder what Wayne Martin will do with his time when he retires. Martin himself has no such questions.
“I’m going to take a few weeks of vacation first, and then do volunteer work,” he said.
Martin has supervised a number of building projects for the Elmira District Community Living, and is an active volunteer on a handful of boards.
“I don’t see him sitting still – or at least not very long,” said company president Darrell Martin, who will be taking over in partnership with three others.
Wayne started the business in 1973. He’d worked for a contractor for nine years before problems with his knees lead him to switch to sales. Eight months later, he struck out on his own.
For the first two years, Wayne ran Way-Mar out of his home with two employees. In 1975, he went into partnership with three other men and expanded the company.
“I had more work than I could handle. I was working from six in the morning until 10 at night.”
The business has expanded from exterior claddings into all types of home renovations: windows, doors, skylights, roofing, additions and insulation. After moving from Conestogo to Hawkesville, Way-Mar relocated to its current spot on Ament Line in 1985. The present building offers 8,000 square feet of warehouse space and 4,000 square feet of office and showroom space.
Wayne said he never thought his home-based business would grow to one with 40 employees. He gave some thought to retiring 10 years ago, but his main business partner at that time died of cancer. It was then that Wayne decided he wanted to be done at 65. Having been in the works for the past four or five years, the transition is sure to be a smooth one.
“It just feels like it’s the right time,” he said. “I hope the business can continue the way it has and I see no reason why it can’t with the people who are here. Basically they’ve been running the business for the last few years and I’ve been assisting.”
Wayne has seen any number of changes to the industry in the 37 years since he founded Way-Mar, but some things haven’t changed.
“Quality is still the most important thing,” he said, noting that quality, honesty and good service are the keys to building a successful business.
“The best advertising is referrals – that’s where those three things are important,” added Darrell.
Way-Mar is having an open house July 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. for people to drop by, see the facility, and offer their congratulations to Wayne.