When Kenny Lazar’s son was born, he quit his job as a construction worker to go into business for himself.
His boss thought that he was crazy, but Lazar felt the timing was right. The risk paid off. About 25 years later, Lazar owns three businesses, Lazar’s Trailers and Welding Inc., A Palm For You and Lazar’s Auto Sales, side-by-side on Flowing Wells Road in Martinez. He owns A Palm For You with a business partner, David Landers.
“I started this business as a hobby,” Lazar said about his first one, Trailers and Welding. “I raced dirt track cars, and I was building trailers to support my racing habit.”
Doug Wilson, the owner of Augusta Heating & Air Conditioning, often told Lazar that he should go into business for himself, but Lazar felt the goal was out of reach because he didn’t have much money and only a ninth grade education. Wilson allowed him to start his business in the rear of his building, free of charge.
Lazar made the business official in 1987, and his wife, Diane, who handles bookkeeping, quit her job a year later to join him. Today, Lazar’s Trailers sells cargo trailers, aluminum tool boxes and welding repair. Lately, most business has been service and repair work.
“When I first started out, I custom built everything I sold. As time went on, we couldn’t compete with assembly line stuff. We had to start buying everything and bringing it in,” Lazar said.
After the first year, Lazar needed to expand and couldn’t afford land in Martinez, but V.R. Day, who owned Day’s Machine Shop, lived on the property next to Wilson’s and gave Lazar a strip of land.
Lazar unintentionally started A Palm For You five years ago. He had hired Landers, who owns a landscaping business, to plant some palm trees at his business. People driving by kept asking if they were for sale.
“We decided to put them out here, and that’s how David and I got into the small business,” Lazar said. “When we first started, it was booming. Everything we’ve done has been real good until this crisis hit the world.”
A Palm For You sells Palmetto, Washingtonia, Windmill, Sago, Needle and Pindo palm trees.
“You have to get trees that grow in our region,” he said.
Palm trees can range from six to 18 or 20 feet tall, and large trees weigh an average of 1,000 pounds because they contain so much water.
His business must install them for customers because they are so heavy. However, palm trees don’t require a lot of upkeep, he said.
His son, Robbie, runs Lazar’s Auto Sales, which he started two years ago. Good used cars are hard to find because people are keeping their cars longer.