BROOKSVILLE — Oh, how trading and bartering play to the savvy shopper's yen for making a good buy.
The shopper's satisfaction fuels the success of Jimmy's Warehouse and Jimmy's Moving Service, the furniture store launched five years ago with moving added three years later, just north of Brooksville.
"Two things bring a lot of business to us," said owner Jimmy Jones, "moving, and trading furniture if you have something we're willing to take. (There's) not another business (locally) that does that on such a large scale."
The scale runs to 17,000 square feet in two buildings filled with used and new furniture, home decor accessories and tools. Two semitrailer trucks accommodate moving throughout Florida, with planned expansion to other Southeast states in January.
Store manager Tracy Baker, Jones' daughter, said the moving aspect grew out of sales, when furniture buyers often asked if the business' heavy handlers could relocate their entire households.
For anyone who has moved, it comes as no surprise that relocations often end with too many furnishings for the new site and what to do with the won't-fits.
"If it's good furniture, we'll trade it for credit on the move," said Jones. "We're only looking for good condition. We don't buy what we call rough stuff."
Trading has resulted in an inventory at the warehouse of about 40 percent, in both space and sales, pegged to used furniture, 10 percent to antique and vintage pieces, 10 percent to used tools and 40 percent to new furniture.
Augmenting the used and antique offerings is the firm's buying out of entire estates. Also, customers buying new furniture will trade in their used against the new purchase price, whether they're downsizing, redecorating or because "they get tired of looking at the old stuff."
The result on a recent day — "We're always getting new stuff in," said Baker — revealed a $1,000 antique lacquered Japanese buffet table, $20 to $200 side tables, $40 to $200 chandeliers, china cupboards up to $1,500, variously priced tools and hardware from adzes to air compressors, and cheap to pricey glassware and china.
"Usually, you can find something you want," Baker said.
Shoppers who peruse every aisle and corner may find their particular treasure. In one such corner is a well-used metal trunk on whose lid can be discerned the painted word "CLOWN." On its side is a decal telling its provenance, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"It's the case trunk that carried the paraphernalia of the clown," Jones confirmed. Figuring its age at about 100 years, he said, "I'm hoping to get about $1,000 for this."
With good humor, Jones explained, "Everybody who comes in here wants to make a deal."
He pointed to the $1,500 price tag on an ornate breakfront with beveled glass and faux marble insets.
"We'll never get that much on that piece," he said.
He's happy to negotiate.
With advertising on Craigslist and the TV networks Home & Garden and Hallmark, Jimmy's Warehouse attracts shoppers from as far away as Gainesville, Sarasota, Orlando and Jacksonville. Jimmy's Moving Service does considerable business in Citrus County, the owner said.
The current operation, with four full-time and three part-time employees, is the fourth business Jones, 70, has established during his career. The spry entrepreneur was retired for 12 years before getting back in the trade.
Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]