Ike Epstein
Sportsman of the Year 2018
Ike Epstein

Ike Epstein was born and raised here in Laredo. After graduating from Martin High School in 1949, Ike adventured to Austin to attend the University of Texas. In 1953 he finished with degree in Business, a new wif, Doris, a native of Brookhaven, Mississippi and a 2 year commission to the US Army. 


After serving in the United States Army in Okinawa, Ike returned to Laredo to work in his father’s lumber yard. He had this dream of a one stop shop for all the home building supplies. And so, Ike opened his own business, Economy Lumber, with a modest inventory on San Agustin and Jackson Streets in Laredo. As a remodeler, Ike called himself "The House Doctor".

His tagline became “Let the doctor fix what ails your house.” As Ike built his remodeling business, he grew to be known as “Dr. Ike.”

In the 1960s, Ike Epstein began to sell his extra supplies to other remodelers and builders in the area, and soon the Economy Lumber logo was a generic figure wearing doctor scrubs with a stethoscope and a doctor’s bag that held tools. In 1973, the name of the company was changed to Dr. Ike’s Economy Center, and later evolved to Dr. Ike’s Home Centers.

The first location; which is still the main store today, is located at the corner of Chicago and San Eduardo. In 1984, a second location was opened in Zapata and a third store in south Laredo in 1990. Today the third generation works in the family business, Clay Epstein and his wife, Carolyn, have been working for the past two decades helping Ike. Carolyn, serves as company CFO and Clay as Vice President. Dr. Ike’s employs over 145 employees with about 70% of them full time. From the beginning the Epstein family has created a family like atmosphere for both the employees and customers.

It is with this attitude that Dr. Ike’s continues to have many employees for over 30 years and that many, many customers are multigenerational. Ike believes in the motto “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” Dr. Ike’s is a supporter of several organizations, including Crime Stoppers’ Menudo Bowl, Salvation Army, Veterans, LISD and UISD students with special needs and garden projects. LULAC, Boys and Girls Club, FAA of Zapata, Zapata Chamber of Commerce, Laredo Builders Association, Laredo Chamber of Commerce, Women’s City Club Pennies for Tennis and many other organizations. Many days you may see the Orange Trailer helping in the neighborhoods at baseball fields or other community activities. Helping individuals help themselves is very important to our community involvement.





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Proposed museum location is downtown Laredo, Texas, intersection, Farragut at Juarez Ave.