Justin Allred is a man who wears many hats. He also sells them.
A savvy and successful entrepreneur since his teens, Allred recognizes a great business idea when he sees it. When his wife heard that a little clothing shop on Court Street in Florence, Alabama was for sale, she shared this information with her husband.
“We ran the numbers, and everything just worked,” says Allred. Knowing his wife’s passion for retail, and the need in the Shoals for a casual men’s store, Allred and his wife opened Jar & Company(a play on his initials) in September 2012.
“Our vision is to have that customer base from a teenager through college and middle age and even beyond,” he says. “If you need a golf shirt, slacks, t-shirt, belt or button-down, Jar & Company can supply that for you.”
It wasn’t long before the success of the Florence location led to a second store in Decatur, Alabama. Also located in a popular historic downtown district, the second Jar & Company offers the same casual name-brand selection. The large rustic space—about five times the square footage of the Florence store—allowed Allred to add women’s clothing to the inventory.
As President of the Jar and Company stores, Allred manages that inventory for both locations, in addition to purchasing, payroll, promotions, and the responsibilities of his other business ventures. When he realized he needed a system to better manage all of his merchant services, he turned to a trusted partner: Bank Independent.
“My family’s had a history with Bank Independent since the 70s,” explained Allred. “My relationship with Bank Independent started with personal accounts when I was 15 years old, and I continued that relationship on a business level when I opened my first company in 2010.”
When Jar and Company opened its doors in Florence, Allred was using an out-of-town vendor for credit card processing…until an experience on the busiest shopping day of the year prompted him to reach out to Bank Independent’s Business Banking team.
“Our credit card machines went down on Black Friday,” recalls Allred. “We couldn’t get in touch with anybody [with the processing company] and it was just a disaster. Terrible customer service. That’s when I reached out to Bank Independent.”
Not only did Stephanie Hipps, Business Banking Officer at Bank Independent, and her team provide a credit card processing service. Stephanie introduced Allred to Talech, a powerful all-in-one point-of-sale, payroll and inventory management, card processing and analytics solution.
Talech: Simple setup, access from anywhere
“Talech is a cloud-based system that operates from an iPad,” explains Allred. “It’s very simple and user-friendly. Set-up involved buying an iPad, downloading the app and entering our inventory.”
Talech has made it easier for Allred to manage two Jar and Company locations—from anywhere.
“Being cloud-based is wonderful,” says Allred. “Words can’t describe what it’s done for our company. I’m able to login at home or login off-site, or someone at my corporate office can login to look at sales reports or payroll. It’s been unbelievable.”
“Our inventory [management system] was a legal pad,” laughs Allred. With Talech, Allred can print out an inventory any time, and know exactly what has been sold or is in stock. “It streamlines the process, and saves time and money.”
An added bonus of partnering with Bank Independent for merchant services was the opportunity to create and offer Jar and Company branded gift cards.
“It was sort of like our old inventory record-keeping process—we’d issue handwritten gift certificates,” says Allred. “Now we have real, branded gift cards that you can swipe and manage through the Talech system. Since that information is cloud-based, too, we can even take care of the customers who lose their gift cards. It makes us feel like a big retailer.”
Bank Independent's Business Banking team
Like Jar and Company, Bank Independent offers the services you’d find with the big guys but with a small-town personal touch. For businesses like Jar and Company, this means concierge-like service from the Bank Independent business banking team.
“When you need somebody, they’re there,” says Allred. “If I ever have a question or need them, within most of the time within an hour they are here in the store. The Bank Independent business banking team has never let me down.”
Would you like to learn more about Talech or Bank Independent's Business Banking products and services?