Jim Oakley (right) offers some sage advice to BrandSource Southeast Region president Tony Brocato.
By Andy Kriege, YSN
It is with sadness and heavy hearts that BrandSource learned of the passing of longtime friend and business associate Jim Oakley. He died on March 13 at the age of 72.
For nearly four decades Jim helped members obtain financing for their floor plans and credit lines in his capacity as an account executive. More than a lender though, he was also a confidant and trusted advisor, and people often affectionately referred to him simply as “Oak.”
Jim began his career with Borg-Warner’s commercial finance unit, which was sold to Transamerica Corp. in 1987. As Southeast Region manager Tim Clements recalled, Jim served the inventory finance needs of multiple BrandSource dealers across the Southeast, South Atlantic, Northeast and Tri-State Regions when AVB Finance was established as a joint venture with Transamerica.
Transamerica was eventually acquired by General Electric, which sold the financial unit to Wells Fargo in 2015.
Although his company changed hands and names many times, Jim was the one constant that independent dealers could always count on. He was instrumental in helping generations of independent business owners survive many challenging times during his more than 40-year career.
South Atlantic Region Manager Harry Buntyn said Jim was always there to offer assistance. “He attended every meeting and function and offered his advice to people as it related to managing their businesses, even if it had nothing to do with his services,” he told YSN. “I recall many times when he went way over and above the call of duty to help one of our members out who had become way over extended. He generously offered his guidance and knowledge with kindness, even when telling people what they did not want to hear.”
“He was a real gentleman and will be truly missed,” Buntyn said.
Jim’s long career and large territory fostered many friendships across the country. “He made himself available to everyone, whether they did business with him or not,” Clements added. “He never met a stranger, he treated everyone like an old friend, and was the first to buy a round and offer his advice to members and suppliers alike. All AVB members benefited from his loyal service and he will be missed by everyone who knew him.”
Jim retired in 2016 and is survived by his wife of 34 years Karen Oakley, daughter Jaime Castellanos, and a grandson. A memorial has been established at:
Shepherd’s Cove Hospice
408 Martling Road
Albertville, AL 35951
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.