Insider Story: Building Family Block by Block
Jeff Martin works in sales in the construction industry but listen to him talk and you’d swear he was born to sell Lego sets. He has them stacked all over his house in Indiana, with more pieces in boxes. “I’m always on the Lego website looking at stuff. I buy and sell on eBay,” he says. “It’s the thing that I’ve always loved, even as a kid and then it stuck with me as an adult. I’m more of an accumulator than a collector. I typically don’t keep them in the box. I open them up and build them with my family.”
It’s the last part that is an essential part of the appeal these days: building Lego sets is something he does with his three kids. His youngest is now twelve, but Jeff still recalls “sitting there with my six-year-old, working on something. I’d find the pieces and queue them up for him and then he’d build. If he had a problem, I’d help, but mostly I’d just watch and he’d build it.”
Part of Jeff’s sales pitch, for anyone listening, is that, in his view, “Lego makes your kid smarter because it helps them develop the creative side of the brain as well as the problem-solving side of the brain. My son is an electrical engineer. He’s twenty-five, and he already has two patents to his name, and he’s working on two more.” His daughter and her friends build scenes and situations with their Lego sets and then act them out. And last year, he and his son completed a 7,500-piece Millennium Falcon, the largest model Lego has ever released for retail sale. He bought it in on December 1st last year, and father and son worked on it throughout the winter and early spring. Now complete, it sits on a table in the family room, and Jeff calls it “probably the coolest set I’ve ever owned.”
Jeff has also been a superb if unofficial salesman for Sleep Number—“I’ve probably referred twenty people to Sleep Number since I got my first bed,” he says with a laugh. He and his wife, Nora, bought their first Sleep Number around 2006, and upgraded to a P5 in 2016. The original appeal was the ability for the two to adjust the firmness to their personal preference, although it turns out they have very similar settings. Still, Jeff says, “it’s nice to be able to customize. If I go on vacation or go to a hotel, I definitely miss my bed at home.”
If you could sleep anywhere, where would it be? A beach hut in Navarre in the Florida panhandle.
What is your Sleep Number setting? Jeff and Nora are both around 40.
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