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HERNANDO AND CITRUS COUNTY
THE ART OF THE DEAL
At Jimmy’s Furniture Warehouse, buying, selling and trading are all on the table
By Donna Vavala
Jimmy Jones is always ready to buy, sell, or trade most anything that interests or benefits him. He’s a master entrepreneur who has founded numerous businesses and transformed failing businesses into success stories. At age 71, he’s still working full time, even though he tried and failed to retire at age 54. That attempt lasted two years, then he got bored, bought another business and resumed working 60 hours a week.
In 2004, Jimmy bought two side by side warehouses on Ponce De Leon Boulevard, in Brooksville, thinking he would just rent them out, but he lost the tenant when the recession hit and was unable to rent or sell the buildings. So, he did what he does best, he started a new business on the property of the vacant warehouses that morphed into Jimmy’s Warehouse Furniture six years ago.
Jimmy started simply by selling yard art outside one of the buildings—gators, turtles, wooden birds, military insignia stepping stones, pottery, bird houses, spinners and lots more, stuff that’s still available today. Then, he started buying up estate sales, trading old furniture for the new and filling the buildings. As the items accumulated, Jimmy began to hire people to help him sell, load and deliver. He currently has six employees, including his daughter, Tracy, who is the store manager and heir apparent to the business whenever Jimmy decides he wants to retire for real.
“I accidentally started this business,” said Jimmy, petting one of three store mascots, his family pet dogs, Debby, a huge, black senior dog of unknown pedigree. There’s also Dixie Mae, a 12-year-old redbone coon dog, which sometimes has to stay behind the counter to keep her energy at bay; and Maggie, a six-month-old rescue. “I have people who come in just to see the dogs—the dogs have been a real asset.”
The early business was conducted mostly outdoors.
“My wife, Ellen, and I held weekend yard sales in the parking lot until I bought out enough estate sales to fill the building. We can furnish an entire house.”
Estate sale items that are not saleable are donated to charity. Nothing goes to waste.
“Our philosophy is that we are a family-owned business that really tries to give people good service,” Jimmy said. “We are licensed by the State of Florida and bonded and insured.”
The 8,500-square-foot warehouse now houses a large collection of reasonably-priced new furniture, lamps, decorative accessories, clocks, florals, art, vintage china, music boxes and more. And, if you don’t find anything to your taste on the floor, you can browse new furniture catalogs, and he’ll order whatever you want and have it delivered to your home for free—even if you live in Citrus County. The sheer volume of in-stock items is mind-blowing.
In the 9,200-square-foot warehouse next door is a ton of used furniture, including a large antique section. Need an easy chair? There are dozens of them in every style and color imaginable from which to choose. There are gently-used dining and bedroom sets. Tucked in here and there are some very unusual items like two full-sized carousel horses, a former Barnum & Bailey Circus professional clown’s trunk full of shoes and costumes, a 1960 slot machine. Surprises lurk around every corner.
Everybody wants a deal, and we give them a deal—we’re willing to negotiate,” Jimmy said.
Since Jimmy owns several trucks that are not always busy delivering furniture to buyers’ homes, he decided to start another side business: Jimmy’s Moving. While he is currently limiting the moves to within the State of Florida, Jimmy predicts the distance will increase to include all of southeast Florida, an estimated 600 miles from the hub in Brooksville within six months. But all good things have to come to an end sometime.
“I really enjoy dealing with people,” Jimmy said. “I have met thousands of people of all types, and I really enjoy it.”
Jimmy said he said those 60 hours a week he works may be starting to take a toll on him. He’s actually considering retiring at the end of this year. But don’t bet on it…
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