APPLE VALLEY – One Apple Valley man discovered a need, and took an idea and ran with it. This motivation and determination led to him being named the 2017 Small Business Person of the Year by the U. S. Small Business Administration.
John (Jay) Jeffs came up with his business idea after repairing and replacing High Desert mailboxes in the 80’s. Due to the lack of options for repair and theft-resistant options, Jeffs decided to provide the repair service and as the business grew, he eventually began manufacturing and selling patented locking mailboxes, called The Letter Locker.
“This was all my father’s idea of simply repairing and replacing mailboxes. He would drive down Apple Valley Road and see the traditional ‘round top’ boxes smashed up and damaged,” Jeffs said in an interview for the Town’s Shop Local initiative. “He laid out a plan, bought the necessary materials and we began a door-to-door service for repairing mailboxes run out of my parent’s garage.” The much-needed business expanded and eventually, in 2000, Jeffs decided to use a Small Business Administration Loan to purchase an 18,000-square-foot building in Apple Valley. The building contained offices and warehouse space that allowed him to add modern manufacturing equipment.
The business continued to grow and Jeffs’ business acquired additional patents for new locking mechanisms and has added facilities in San Diego, Escondido and in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Today, we’re not only serving the local area, we’re serving the country,” Jeffs said, and noted that for the last 30 years, his product has been made in the USA. Jeffs’ business was not unscathed by the recession, he had to re-evaluate his pricing model, and retaining quality employees allowing the business go grow to become an 18 employee business.
“Jay is an exemplary model of a home-grown success story,” said Mayor Scott Nassif. “For three decades he has essentially provided important services and employment that our residents needed. The Town is grateful that he started here, stayed here and continues to do business right here in Apple Valley.” Jeffs who is an active member of the community participating in the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, participates in the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Enhancement Forum, the High Desert Opportunity events and others. He serves on the Apple Valley Fire Protection Board of Directors, volunteers at his church and participates in holiday toy drives.
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This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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