Jabs touts business approach, tax cuts
American Furniture Warehouse in Grand Junction is doing better now than it did when it opened, Jake Jabs, the president and CEO of the company said Monday.
Business is up about 10 percent over November, when the store at 2570 American Way opened, Jabs said after speaking to about 80 members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.
American businesses could do well to follow his example of building without taking out loans, Jabs said.
American Furniture used cash to build its warehouse in Grand Junction. Likewise the equipment there was purchased with cash, Jabs said, advocating a financially conservative approach to business.
Jabs also called for the United States to lower its corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent.
That change would encourage businesses to stay in the United States and prompt them to invest more heavily in the country, Jabs said, adding that federal revenues would also get a needed jolt from such a change.
“Fifteen percent of a lot of money is more than 35 percent of a smaller pie,” Jabs said, adding that politicians don’t seem to understand that.
Jabs founded American Furniture Warehouse in 1975, during an economic slowdown when large furniture businesses were going out of business. He purchased the assets of one of those companies and parlayed that into the beginning of his chain of furniture stores and allied manufacturing facilities.
“There are opportunities in recessions,” he told the group, which met at the DoubleTree Hotel.
American Furniture Warehouse has grown from $8 million in sales in that first year to $350 million last year, he said.
His business also benefits from working with other Colorado businesses, Jabs said, noting that his trucks, emblazoned with American Furniture Warehouse logos, carry other companies’ products to locations where he has manufacturing facilities, then return to Colorado with just-built furniture to be placed on his showroom floors.
He is considering buying new trucks to meet the demand to transport other products, Jabs said.
Merchants and entrepreneurs also have to be careful to be honest with their customers, he said.
“If you’re not honest with somebody, they can kill you with social media,” he told the group.
Jabs’ speech keynoted an effort by the chamber to recognize 13 businesses that had made substantial investments or hired new employees.
Those companies are Bulldog Machine and Production, DT Swiss, Rapid Response of Western Colorado and Paragon Restoration & Building, and Habitat for Humanity.
Also honored was the DoubleTree Hotel, Wax What Inc., and Harrah’s.
Jerry’s Outdoor Sports was recognized, as was E-Waste Recyclers, the Winery Restaurant, CPC Solutions and Grease Monkey.
In all, the companies made investments of more than $5 million, setting the stage for 54 new jobs.