View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Castles made from sand

Posted: August 10, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 10, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Oscar Sandoval,  president and CEO of Sand Building Materials in Santa Clarita, has found success in the masonry business. Oscar Sandoval,  president and CEO of Sand Building Materials in Santa Clarita, has found success in the masonry business.
Oscar Sandoval, president and CEO of Sand Building Materials in Santa Clarita, has found success in the masonry business.

While many businesses during the recession cut back to stay afloat, business owner Oscar Sandoval fought to get ahead and achieve success. 

Admittedly a risk-taker, Sandoval continued to hire employees and re-invest in his company during the recession.
In 2003, Sandoval, 36, started Sand Building Materials from the ground up.

The masonry business provides material for durable forms of construction, and specializes in various colors of flagstone, natural stone and plaster products for backyards, patios, pools and everything outdoors. 

Sand Building Materials’ customers consist of 90-percent contractors, with homeowners making up the remaining 10 percent.

Customers want to see a finished product before purchase agreements and construction begins, Sandoval said.

Two locations
The Santa Clarita location is one of two, and sits on more than two acres of land. It’s twice the size of the now-closed original location in Sun Valley.

It was difficult to watch the little store close since it was his first, but it was shut down due to zoning issues, he said.
“That’s where I learned the business,” Sandoval said. “That’s where I started making great revenue.”

Sandoval’s San Fernando Valley location opened and is still in business.

Gambling on a dream
When Sandoval opened Sand Building Materials, he gambled everything to make his dream come true.

With the support of his wife, whom he met in junior high, the couple sold their home along with everything they owned, and moved into a garage to get the business off the ground.

Sandoval’s wife was pregnant at the time.

Sandoval had no business plan, no business degree, and the banks he contacted all considered his business to be a high-risk investment.

 “Nobody would even consider helping me, and banks were skeptical of me,” Sandoval said. 
“All I knew how to do was buy the material, mark it up and sell, and tell my drivers what to do, and that was it.”

With not even a high school degree, Sandoval was driven by his hands-on experience and lack of options to ensure the company’s success.

“I had no option,” Sandoval said. “I didn’t have a back-up plan, the money was drying up, (it came down to) either it works or it doesn’t.”

By 2008, Sandoval’s big gamble had paid off.

During the “big boom,” as Sandoval called it, while business was good, he continued to buy trucks and hire employees. 
He said he and 20 employees were so busy working that it wasn’t until they stepped back that they realized their hard work was amounting to big profits.

Sand Building Materials was regularly working with hundreds of contractors each month.

By the time the country was pulling out of the recession, the company had lost 25 percent of its sales and was down to working with a fraction of the contractors.

“A 25-percent drop in the millions, its millions,” Sandoval said.

“Let’s say, for example, I was hitting 8 to 9 million (dollars) one year, a drop would put me at 6 to 5 million (dollars). That’s a big hit.”

After moving out of the garage where he and his wife spent one year, Sandoval moved his family into an apartment for four years. Then in 2008, he was able to give them a house once again, Sandoval said.

The new home was custom-built for Sandoval, his wife and four children.

Three years ago, he married his wife on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, and paid for more than 50 of their family and friends to fly with them.

“She stayed with me when I was poor and broke and living paycheck to paycheck,” Sandoval said. “She stuck it out, so I returned the favor.”

Business smarts
With the exception of the three new employees, most members of Sandoval’s staff have been with him for about four to five years, he said.

“Last year, when everything was tough, we ended up hiring more people to create more sales,” Sandoval said. 
“We figured, if we’re going to let the economy ride this down and we don’t fight back, then we’re going to have a big problem.”

Sandoval’s right-hand-man and cousin has been with him the longest.

Alfredo Gomez started right along side Sandoval two days after the business began. Gomez, who was 20 at the time, originally thought it would make for a good summer job.

“It was during the summer when it started growing little by little,” Gomez said. “I saw the potential for what it could do.”
Gomez also said that you would never find Sandoval just spending money or wasting the profits that he made.

“He wouldn’t spend the money,” Gomez said. “He wouldn’t buy a new Cadillac, he would invert the money back into the business.”

Gomez and Sandoval now look forward to the future and plan to open more stores at the beginning of next year.

Sand Building Materials Inc. is located at 16641 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita and be reached at (661) 252-3800 or visited


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...