Don Jones of Jones Appliance Walks off Into the Sunset

Keeping up with the Joneses is a family affair. From left: David, Lois and Don Jones, and Lisa and Luke Tibbs, at the founders’ recent retirement celebration.

An Iowa dream come true: He built it, and they did come!

By Andy Kriege, YSN

In 1982, a few of Don Jones’s business friends convinced him that not only did Iowa Falls need an appliance store, but that he was just the guy to make it happen.

Fast forward 40 years, and it turns out his friends were spot on.

Don had heeded their advice and began selling Amana and KitchenAid appliances out of a small, rented space. He hung a sign with his name on it, unaware that he and his wife Lois were creating a legacy that would still be going strong four decades later.

Not unlike that famous whisper uttered from an Iowa cornfield — “If you build it, they will come” — generations of Iowa families would flock to the business that was Don’s and Lois’s dream. As he recalled, “We rented the front part of the building we are in now, but in a much smaller space, hoping it would grow in time.”

The business has indeed flourished and now carries a full line of Whirlpool appliances as well as TVs, mattresses, and outdoor cooking products. What’s more, Jones Appliance & TV, a 2022 BrandSource Dealer of the Year, now sells more in one day than it did in an entire month early on.

The company has indeed undergone many changes since the early days, most notably the computerization of virtually everything, said Don. “Ordering, receiving, banking and bookkeeping have all gone digital,” he noted. “Nowadays our customers are more informed, having already tapped into a ton of product information before they ever walk in the door.”

 “You simply can’t do business like we did when we started anymore,” he said, and credited his affiliation with BrandSource for helping the store adapt over the years. 

“Being part of BrandSource has helped us more than I can put into words,” Don said. “They helped us in countless ways, but the biggest assist the group has given us is with our marketing. They have improved how we advertise and reach our customers.”

“BrandSource has always done a great job of keeping us ahead of all the changes that are going on around us,” he added, which has kept his company competitive with the big box stores while still turning a profit.

Lois was also heavily involved in the family operation, taking care of the books and whatever needed to be done behind the scenes. Although working in close proximity to family did have its challenges, she acknowledged, any issues were always worked out before everyone went home at night.

“You work side-by-side all day long and if there are work disagreements, you have to leave it there when you go home,” she said. “We always knew our roles and that made it all work.”

For Don, who suffers from asthma, transitioning into retirement was expedited by the onset of the pandemic, which forced him to work from home. “It just got to the point where this last year we thought we were getting used to being away from the business and it was a good time to turn the page,” he said.

David, left, with his dad Don. “I have big shoes to fill,” the younger Jones said.

Don is leaving the business in good hands, with his son David now running the day-to-day operations, his daughter Lisa in charge of sales, and her husband Luke running the service department.

David and Lisa are both grateful to their parents for all that they did to build the business. “I do feel blessed to have had the chance to work side by side with both of my parents for as long as I did,” Lisa said. “Not many people have that privilege, and I will miss seeing them every day.”

Added David, “I know I will have my hands full, but I could not imagine starting from nothing the way they did.” Aiding him in his new responsibilities is an important lesson his father left him with: “It doesn’t matter what is going on at any given moment,” Don had advised. “When a customer walks in the door it is all about their needs and you need to set your own troubles aside.”

Don and Lois Jones were honored for their 40 years of contributions to the company and the community at a storewide party this month. Folks came out in droves to share stories, laugh, hugs of appreciation, and over 250 complimentary meals, which were served up with several prizes that were awarded at the celebration.

Earlier this month, David and Lisa marked their parent’s retirement and commemorated their 40 years of contributions to the company and the community with a storewide celebration. “It was amazing to see the support of our community and our venders when planning an event that centered around a celebration instead of a sale,” David said. “We had some customers looking to purchase something, but for the most part, this day was about Mom and Dad, and celebrating what they had done for us and our community.”

David suggested that BrandSource members consider holding similar events. “If you get a chance to commemorate an event like this, by all means do so and let your customer celebrate with you,” he said.

Looking back over their four decades at Jones Appliance, Don said he and Lois are thankful for the support the community has given them, and are grateful for the opportunity to build “one of the largest independent mom-pop stores in the state of Iowa.”

“We are very happy with how it turned out,” he added. “That’s all you can ask for.”

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.