Portales teen starts business fresh out of high school

By Tony Parra

Teen high school graduates set their minds on hanging out with friends, getting a job or going to college when they get their high school diplomas, but for one teen her mind was set on opening her own business.

Crystal Martinez, an 18-year-old woman who graduated from Portales High School in May, operates Crystal’s store with the help of her parents, Isabel and Alfredo Martinez. The Martinez’s sell clothing, purses, boots, toys, quilts and kitchen accessories, just to name a few items in the store.

Crystal went to the podium and grabbed her diploma from Portales High School in May and less than four months later she manages a clothing store with the help of her parents.
“I like working with people,” Crystal said. “I like seeing new people and helping them out. I really wanted to start a business. It was something I really wanted to do and went for it.”

The store has been open for a little more than two months and Isabel says they order their clothes from Los Angeles, Calif.

Crystal said she had worries like any other person who is starting a new business, publicity and attracting customers to the store among her biggest concerns.

“It was real slow at first,” Crystal said. “But it started getting better and better. I was worried about how people would find out about it. I was worried we weren’t going to get any business at all.”

Isabel said her daughter has always been self-motivated and driven at an early age.

“Since she was little,” Isabel said. “When she sets her mind to she’ll do it. She’s always friendly and always has a smile. You’ll never see her mad.”

Crystal not only works at Crystal’s, she also works full-time as a shift manager at McDonald’s restaurant in Portales. It’s a trait she shares with her parents who also juggle jobs. Alfredo has been working at Bonestroo Dairy for 14 years and still works there while Isabel works in home health care through the Community Services Center.

Crystal says sometimes she wonders if people think she’s too young to be operating a store, but she tries to help customers and be friendly with them to offset their worries.
Crystal, Alfredo and Isabel can all speak Spanish, also. Crystal said there have been many people who enter the store who only speak Spanish.

Alfredo said he preaches to his children to finish school and get an education so they can decide what they want to do after high school and become successful. Alfredo said his son Alfredo Jr. wants to go to college and wants to operate a dairy someday.

Crystal has aspirations of going to college, but said she will hold those plans off until August. She wants to major in business. Crystal said the response from her parents and friends about the new business has been encouraging.

“They’re (parents) proud of me,” Crystal said. “They’re always telling other people about me. My friends were like, ‘Wow,’ I can’t believe you’re doing that.”

Isabel Martinez said the store is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store is located at 600 S. Avenue C. in Portales.