Barbara Gilmartin, Design Materials, Inc.
While other businesswomen's focus may be primarily on providing unique and lovely materials to their clients, Barbara Gilmartin, president of Design Materials Inc., feels that part is a given - she knows her company offers fabulous materials - but the aspect of business that she focuses on most is customer service and satisfaction.
is known throughout South Texas for its great service and fine quality products such as tiles, porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, custom stone, metals, glass and more.
It also carries accessories and fixtures to complement its numerous products and materials.
Like many good things, it all started with a small package.
Back in 1982, Gilmartin
began with only a tiny room, a little bit of carpet and tile and not even a business card - let alone a business plan.
But today Design Materials comprises a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and showroom, and Gilmartin
is happy that she
is able to provide salaries and benefits for more than 30 much appreciated employees.
"San Antonio has been so good to me," she
"When I first came here from Chicago, I didn't know a soul.
But I just had a feeling that this town was going to grow, and I would grow with it.
And now I've had this wonderful life - I've enjoyed getting a great team together, I've traveled all over the world buying products in gorgeous places like Italy, and I've worked with top architects, designers - it's been exciting.
So when I see young people full of nervousness as they start out in business, I want to help them and tell them it's possible.
I hope I can give back to the community by helping others who started from scratch like me, so I talk to and counsel young people whenever I can, even at my church," says Gilmartin
"Some of my favorite products are our tiles and stone and our columns and fireplaces," says Gilmartin
, who knows that the perfect texture and surface can tell a story about one's home - make it earthy and comfortable, formal and regal, open and spacious, natural and inviting.
Natural materials, like stone for a fireplace surround, can dramatically transform the look of a room and update rooms whose design scheme seems dreary or outdated.
Gilmartin first became interested in this business after working at another tile company for five years before opening her own business.
Being the president and owner of a business is hard work, and the biggest challenge she says she faces is constantly working hard to keep her wonderful employees happy.
"The most rewarding part of my job is meeting neighbors, friends and clients and hearing from those who return to thank us for a great experience.
It really is all about that - about service and happy customers," she
"For 28 years, Design Materials, Inc.
has been, and remains, a supplier of the world's finest porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, marble, granite, metals, glass and accessories.
Our showroom is designed to give customers great ideas, and our goal is to provide them with excellent customer service.
When you walk into our showroom, we want you to be able to leave with an entire plan for your home, building or remodeling project - we want to inspire our clients to create something beautiful and meaningful for their home, and we certainly have the design elements and materials to make that happen," says Gilmartin