One day in late December 2004, Christy Jones and Nena Lowe went to a “friends and family” sale at a local furniture company. They were two of the last customers there picking up merchandise.
“I asked the guy what he was going to do with all the furniture that was left, and he said he didn’t know,” recalled Lowe. “So I asked if we could buy it.”
The man said yes, and Lowe and Jones wound up with 650 pieces of upholstered sofas and chairs.
The women rented some space, had a banner made that said “Nena’s and Christy’s Warehouse Sale” and, together with their husbands and their seven children, they sold every piece in a two-week period.
“The younger boys screwed legs on furniture and the older boys delivered,” said Jones. “It was all done by word of mouth and one ad in the Journal. We didn’t have a single thing left.”
With the sweet smell of success hanging heavy in the air, the women were hooked.
“We started going to Dallas and picking up loads at warehouses and driving 26-foot trucks back here,” said Lowe. “And then we went to Dallas and bought an entire warehouse – nine 18-wheeler loads. Only we had no place to put it all.”
The women rushed back to Tupelo and found a warehouse on Daybrite Drive – 605 Daybrite Drive to be exact.
“We started cleaning it and painting it, and we opened it in two weeks,” Lowe said.
And in July 2005, Warehouse 605 was born.
Lowe and Jones decided early on that their families would always be their No. 1 priority.
“Only one of our children was in college, and the rest were in junior high and high school when we started this,” Lowe said. “That’s the reason we only opened three days a month. Family is first.”
Warehouse 605 is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the first full week of every month.
“But that’s always contingent on what’s going on with our families,” Jones said. “That date can change if it needs to.” (To get on the store’s mailing list, write email@example.com or call (662) 231-9008 or (662) 372-3201.)
The store specializes in upholstered furniture, lamps, artwork, rugs and home accessories.
“Upholstered furniture is usually the biggest seller,” Jones said. “But one month, everybody might want lamps. Another month, it might be artwork. Every month, there’s something new. It’s always changing.”
The women travel all over the country picking up items for Warehouse 605, Lowe said. They’ve bought containers from China, and last summer, they traveled to India for merchandise.
“We’ve been to towns we’ve never even heard of in the middle of nowhere,” Jones said. “We’ve called our husbands before and said, ‘We just want y’all to know where to look for our bodies in case we’re never heard from again.’”
And yet, they’re always up for an adventure.
“We’ve headed to Dallas with an empty truck and no appointments and come back with it full,” Jones said.
With the success of the Tupelo store under their belts, Jones and Lowe decided to open a second store in Oxford this past April. Located on Jackson Avenue East, just off the Square, it’s also called Warehouse 605.
“We’re always in Oxford anyway,” Lowe said. “All the kids are or were in school there, so we’re there visiting or for ball games.”
The Oxford store, which has a full-time manager, is open six days a week and carries more gift items than the shop in Tupelo.
“Even though our kids are older now, we’re still just open three days a week in Tupelo,” Jones said. “That’s what makes it special.”
That and the low prices.
“We show people you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good look,” Jones said. “Everybody is welcome in this store. It does not matter who you are or where you’re from. We’re very casual here.”
The women admit they would not be where they are today without the help of their husbands, Barry Jones and Lacey Lowe, and their children. The Joneses have four sons and the Lowes have two sons and a daughter.
“We deliver, we put furniture together, we set up furniture in homes,” Jones said. “We do it all. We’re trying to teach our kids that there’s nothing wrong with hard, physical work.”
She likened the store to their social outlet.
“We see everybody down here,” she said. “When your kids get older, you’re out of PTA, so you don’t see people anymore.”
For now, Jones and Lowe say they’re having a ball. The shop allows them to be stay-at-home moms and businesswomen all at the same time. But when that fun ends, they’ll close up shop.
“Our thing is if somebody wants out, there are no hard feelings,” Jones said. “We’ll just lock the door and call it a day.”
The two women met through their children, Lowe said, and became friends because of their children.
“We really enjoy this, but if we quit enjoying it, we’re done,” Lowe said. “We’re at that stage in life where if it’s not fun, we’re not doing it.”
Name: Warehouse 605.
Who: Nena Lowe and Christy Jones, owners.
What: Upholstered furniture, tables, lamps, artwork, rugs and accessories for the home.
Where: 605 Daybrite Drive, Tupelo (between Enterprise and the Driver’s License bureau).
When: Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the first full week of the month. Next sale is Sept. 7-9.
Call: (662) 231-9008 or (662) 372-3201 or write firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the email list.