Monday - Friday: 7:30AM - 9:00PMSaturday: 7:30AM - 8:00PMSunday: 9:00AM - 6:00PM
Our story begins with David Epstein, Father of Ike Epstein, immigrating to Mexico in 1926 from Eastern Europe. He began his employment as a traveling salesman for a general mercantile store in Monterrey. David started his career selling basic household necessities to the surrounding Pueblitos.
David was a "tinkerer" and "jack of all trades". In 1928, he put all of his skills together and began a small construction company. During the next several years he built a number of homes that he rented out and subsequently sold. With this capital, he was able to save money and move to Laredo with his wife Flora. There he began building and financing homes for hardworking people that were unable to get financing during the depression. He continued in this business for the next thirty years.
Ike Epstein was born in Laredo and attended local public schools. After graduating from Martin High School, Ike ventured out to the University of Texas in Austin where he earned a business degree. His next career opportunity was courtesy of the United States Army. In a joint Army/Air Force Aviation Battalion effort, Ike was building runways to serve the just introduced B-52 bombers.
After Ike completed his service, he returned to Laredo with his new bride Doris. Ike began working with his father building homes. In 1959, in a small one room office, he and Doris branched out on their own and began Economy Lumber Yard. Ike’s younger brother William joined them after he completed his military service until he left to go into the automobile business a few years later.
They began selling, from their modest location with limited inventory, lumber and building materials by day. In the evening, they would meet with customers to discuss their building needs. These meetings led Ike to decide he would offer complete remodeling solutions rather than just providing lumber and building materials. He also offered easy in-house financing to his customers.
During this time, Economy Lumber became known for “quality work at a reasonable price”. This simple focus led to Ike becoming “The House Doctor” with the tagline “let the doctor fix what ails your house”. It is lost to history who bestowed on him the moniker “Dr. Ike”.
At the beginning of the 70’s, Ike expanded his inventory and began to sell building materials to other remodelers and builders in the area. Ike practiced the “unheard-of” concept of posting prices for everyone to see, all the while maintaining his individual customers doing their own repairs. This was the forerunner of what is now known today as D-I-Y. In 1973, Ike and Doris opened the first home center in the area. They left behind the old lumber yard with its dirty wood floors and creaking lumber sheds. Their vision became a reality and were now offering a “one stop shop” for all lumber, building material and hardware needs under one roof. The new store had air conditioning, wide aisles, clean floors and a strictly enforced no smoking policy.
A new name came into being for this new type of business. Something old melded with something new. Dr. Ike’s Economy Center was the “one stop shop” for traditional items and Doris’ Corner was dedicated to the latest in home décor. This concept is memorialized in our company motto “From the Foundation to the Decoration”.
Dr. Ike’s opened its store in Zapata, TX in 1984 and the South Laredo store in 1998. With this expansion, the name was changed to ”Dr. Ike’s Home Centers”. Dr. Ike’s success has been built on the concept of giving the customer value for their hard-earned money. With enthusiasm and creativity, our 125 plus associates make sure that we continue to provide our customers what they need to build and maintain their dream homes each and every day.
For almost ninety years, the Epstein Family and Dr. Ike’s predecessor companies have been a part of the Laredo, Zapata and South Texas communities by supporting many community organizations and local events.
We thank you for your continued support and friendship!