As the father of 5-year-old quadruplets—three girls and a boy—plus 9- and 11-year-old daughters, Matt Arnold would be busy even if this former builder wasn’t helping his father-in-law run a lumberyard in this remote but energy-rich community. Here’s how helping to raise six kids in a family business environment gives him insights into managing work and family life.
Balancing Act You can just imagine the amount of laundry that six kids creates. When the quadruplets were babies, our schedules were pretty demanding; luckily they were good sleepers and we could get to bed by 10 p.m. It would have been brutal if they weren’t.
Now That They’re Older ... I’m up by 6 a.m. to help get the kids ready for school. I leave about 7:15 a.m. to come into work and their mom takes them to school. Being in a family-owned business gives me more flexibility with my work schedule. I can disappear for a couple of hours to meet teachers or help out when we have some meltdowns at home.
The Middleman I worked as a builder in Joliet, Wyo., for 10 years along with my twin brother. That experience has helped me connect with the contractors to solve some of the issues that come up during the building process. As my father-in-law would say, I speak their jargon.
Remote Rivals Our biggest competitors—Home Depot and Menards—are two hours away, but our customers will add an extra stop to a trip out of town if they know they’ll save money. It’s funny to say that you compete with someone two hours away, but we do.
Service Oriented Rawlins is tied to the oil industry and [because of booms and busts] that’s made locals very frugal. In order to survive here, you’ve got to be the better choice. We try to make sure that we can schedule same-day deliveries for all the materials we have in stock. Two or three times per week, we send a semi to Denver to bring up materials. Our store also has a Radio Shack and sells fire-retardant gear.
Future Employees? Having the kids become familiar with the store from a young age lets us instill the necessary work ethic from the beginning. They come in almost every day—mainly because we have a gumball machine in the store that they think they own—but they love to see grandpa at his job, and dad. My son already started talking about working at the yard.