From a gas station in the purest American style to a quality store selling products for DIY, handicrafts, renovations and gardening. We’re talking about Servei Estació. This business located right in the heart of Barcelona has been in operation for almost 100 years and offers more than 50,000 different product lines: “there is everything”. What’s more, all of our storage furniture and products are made from sustainable and local wood. Today we’re talking with Antonia Martínez, manager of Servei Estació, who highlights the competitiveness of the Astigarraga Kit Line catalogue as well as the simplicity, appearance and quality of our products.

– About to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Servei Estació began as a petrol station with the English name Service Station

That’s right. In 1924, the businessman José Manzanares Baró and Luis Marimón Carbonell, a lawyer, set up the limited company Service Station de Barcelona. The intention was to create an American-style gas station, dedicated to offering all possible automobile services. The name, originally in English, was indicative of the model that inspired the business; in those days, it was a groundbreaking move.

The initial petrol station consisted of a space for the petrol pump, a shop for materials and another space for vehicle repairs and maintenance. The profit made during Service Station’s first year of operation was a testament to the success of this business model. After the equally positive performance in 1931, branches were opened in Lleida, Girona and Palma de Mallorca.

– Then came the post-war period and the Franco era in the 1940s and 1950s. Service Station had to translate its trade name into Spanish: Servicio Estación S.A. It was around this time that the business started to look more like what it is today… 

Yes. The war was a very hard time for the company, but it managed pull through. After the conflict, in the midst of Franco’s regime, and as happened with so many other companies and institutions of the time, the commercial name had to be translated into Spanish, making it Servicio Estación S.A.

It was during that period that the company also entered the hardware market, as the automobile situation in Spain, with severe restrictions due to fuel shortages, threatened the survival of Service Station. Then, in the 1950s, with the introduction of nylon and plastic in Spain, Servicio Estación saw an opportunity: it opened a new commercial avenue that has become a characteristic feature of the company to this day.

Multi-product business

– In the 1960s, the business continued to grow, incorporating all kinds of industrial fabrics, and the current building was constructed. Until the 1980s, when they became an iconic store in Barcelona. You were pioneers, right? What do you mean by “there is everything”?

After the introduction of plastic and nylon into the product line, the business continued to grow and to incorporate all kinds of industrial fabrics at wholesale and retail level: plastics, imitation leather, etcetera. The positive response to the new products and the unstoppable motorisation of the country meant that, from 1965 onwards, the facilities could be extended.

Thus, the current building was constructed to accommodate the new commercial lines that would turn Servicio Estación into a multi-product business. As such, little by little, the motto began to become popular among the customers themselves, that at Servicio Estación “there is everything”, and that if you can’t find something in the shop, you won’t find it anywhere else.

-Today, Servei Estació has improved its infrastructure. And that project, which began as a petrol station, culminates in another milestone: the creation of MW Materials World. Tell us more…

Currently, our online sales website is, where you can find all of the products that the store sells online. Initially, over a decade ago, we decided to only initially sell products in small and large formats online, so we could supply to any location. This first online store was called MW Materials World, and it was one of the first places for the online sale of materials in Spain and, as far as we know, pioneers outside the country as well. We then decided it was necessary to extend our catalogue to include the rest of our products, and that’s where the current website came from, which continues to grow constantly today.

“The solution store”

-Servei Estació is defined as a store for DIY, handicrafts, renovations and garden materials. What makes you different?

Various things. One factor is that we are a store located in the heart of Barcelona, well known by most of the inhabitants of the city and its surroundings, thanks to our almost 100-year history We also cover a large part of any customer’s needs, as we constantly handle more than 50,000 product lines. And in recent times, in addition to online commerce, we have incorporated many services: a cut-to-size workshop that allows us to work on shapes in multiple materials, an installation and refurbishment service for individuals and companies, a commercial line specialising in business clients, and a transport service provided by ourselves and an agency, to deliver our customers’ purchases to their homes.

– What is the main line in your multi-product store? What are Servei’s most popular products and solutions?

Our company has been described by some of our customers as “the king of materials”. We are modestly pleased to have a very broad catalogue of materials, in small and large formats, which allows us to cover the needs of both domestic and industrial buyers. And we are constantly striving to expand our catalogue. Our salespeople are also specialists in these materials, so they can offer totally reliable advice to those who visit us. In this sense, we like to be “the solution store”, not only for the materials we sell, but also for the technical support we can provide.

-What do you look for when selecting suppliers and how do they fit in with your project and philosophy?

Obviously, suppliers need to offer a quality product. And if it is unique or innovative, even better. But the products need to be top-notch. We also need to have access to technical advice and a person to act as the liaison between Servei Estació and the supplier, to resolve any queries or intervene in various circumstances with maximum agility. 

Simplicity, aesthetics and quality

– Based on your experience, what are the strong points of Astigarraga Kit Line as a supplier? Why do you place your trust in us?

The product. It is a product that is very well received by our customers, who value its simplicity, aesthetics and quality. We also very much value the agile service; this is essential for us to serve our customers quickly; and the fact that we have a reliable salesperson we can count on for any eventuality.

– What are the products you would highlight from Astigarraga Kit Line?

I find it difficult to choose one… I particularly like the modular shelving and storage boxes, but our customers buy products from all ranges, which is very positive because it means that the whole catalogue is attractive for sale.

– If you had to define AKL in one sentence…

Reliability and quality, with a very competitive catalogue.

– What support does Astigarraga Kit Line offer you on a daily basis? How does it help you?

Offering a fast service is the best way our suppliers can help us. In this respect, we are satisfied with AKL. We also value a quick response when trying to resolve small incidents or special requests that may arise, and availability for possible promotions or campaigns that we may carry out.


-With regard to sustainability and the environment, from your perspective, to what extent are these issues essential when selecting new products to offer to hardware and DIY shops?

This has been an essential factor in our selection process for some time now. We cannot turn our backs on this very real and serious problem for our planet, one which, fortunately, manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of.

-How do you see the DIY industry in Spain? How do you think the home improvement and DIY universe has evolved?

With the pandemic, there was an explosion in home DIY. Now, perhaps we lack a bit of perspective to see how the sector is going to evolve. But I believe that more and more people are daring to do work or renovations that they didn’t think they were capable of doing before, and I think that this trend will continue.

-What challenges lie ahead for the DIY sector?

To offer increasingly high quality, sustainable and durable products that are also easy to use for domestic customers. And also to offer a comprehensive service and good advice to a market that is growing day by day and not to stop when it comes to looking for innovative products.