It all started with an ice storm in Atlanta. In the early 1960’s, Bert Martin Sr. (Papaw Bert) was hauling produce and poultry throughout the Southeast. On one cold, icy night, Interstate-75 was like a solid sheet of ice and chaos ensued. Papaw Bert was involved in a multiple vehicle accident that left him and several of his trucks all but stranded over 300 miles away from home. Not knowing exactly what to do, He called a wrecker to have his trucks towed back to London, KY. Arriving home, He faced several difficult decisions. Bills were due, payments needed made, and there were no trucks to make the income. After spending several days in prayer seeking God’s guidance on what the next step should be, He ran into another trucker who was down on his luck. The man was far from home and had a starter out. Papaw Bert was quick to jump in and help. He told the trucker he had a good used starter and he’d go get it for him. After helping this guy get back on the road and back to his family, Papaw Bert realized a way to convert his wrecked trucks into the money he needed to pay his bills. He started parting the trucks out piece by piece to make ends meet. This was the beginning of Martin’s Truck Parts.
Papaw Bert saw the potential of used parts in the area so he bought an old International R190 and converted it into a wrecker. He began buying wrecked trucks and hauling them back to London, KY. Before long, there was a yard full of equipment. As more and more people learned of his operation, he needed more help. He turned to his 4 sons: Troy, Mike, Bert Jr., and David. Together they began offering more and more to meet the customers’ needs. They began needing parts that they didn’t have available used so they opened up accounts with vendors such as Eaton Fuller, Dana, and Spicer. These relationships opened up even more possibilities with truck parts and they quickly started to outgrow their facility.
A piece of property adjacent to Interstate-75 came available in the mid 1980’s and the family quickly seized the opportunity. After purchasing roughly 8 acres, the family began to relocate their operations. Being a pastor, Papaw Bert always instilled the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) in his family. Treating people the way He wanted to be treated was always his rule of thumb. As the business continued to flourish and the family reputation for service continued to grow, Western Star approached with the opportunity for a dealership. Martin’s Truck Parts became a Western Star dealer in 1987.
As a Western Star dealer, our business expanded into eastern KY and Western Star trucks began to fill the coal fields. We added service bays and a body shop to expand our service capabilities for our customers. Our goal was to do everything we could to get our customers trucks back on the road as quick as possible by offering any service that they may need. In 1994, we became the first MAC Trailer dealer.
Fast forward ahead to 2000, our reputation for service and our commitment to satisfied customers caught the attention of Peterbilt Motors Co. The partnership between Martin’s Truck Parts and Peterbilt Motors has proved to be a great one. Our family reputation for doing what’s right packaged with the most desirable truck in the industry caused a stampede of Peterbilt trucks into eastern KY and southern WV. Martin’s Peterbilt opened a new parts facility in Paintsville, KY in 2001 to better service the coalfields. In 2005, we opened Martin’s Tire Center. We sold so many trucks in the eastern KY and southern WV coal fields that we needed a full service dealership to help service them. In 2007, we opened our full service dealership in Pikeville, KY. We continued to expand our operations into WV by opening another full service dealership in Hurricane, WV in 2013. We also opened Martin’s Insurance Group in 2014 to further expand our offerings to our customers. In 2015, we opened a parts only facility in Lexington, KY with plans to open a full service dealership in the near future.
Now, here we are in 2018. Our family business is now in it’s 3rd generation. We have grown to be able to offer nearly anything needed in the transportation industry. New and used truck and trailer sales, parts, service, paint and bodywork, tires, road service, collision insurance, health insurance, life insurance…if it has anything to do with a truck, we can help you. The Lord has blessed us to grow in ways we never dreamed possible. One thing has remained the same and will never change, Martin’s Peterbilt promises to always treat you the way we want to be treated. Our company started by helping owner operators, one on one. Whether you have 1 truck or 1000 trucks, you are important to us. Our family is always available to personally serve you in any way. Our goal is to keep your trucks moving through outstanding parts availability and unmatched service, all while glorifying Jesus Christ and building relationships.