Business Spotlight: Jones Medical Supply’s growth continues
Published 11:10 am Thursday, July 20, 2023
Pike County native Jason Jones launched his business, Jones Medical Supply, in 2005, which became Troy’s only locally owned durable medical equipment (DME) supplier. Now, 18 years later, he’s expanded to locations in both Greenville and Dothan.
Jones grew up in Brundidge, attending Pike County Schools until the seventh grade, when he transferred to Pike Liberal Arts School.
“I was in the (Pike County) class with Cornelius Griffin and that bunch from kindergarten through seventh grade,” he recalled. “That was the most athletic group of humans that ever came through (Pike County) at one time, with the exception of me, of course.”
Jones’ grandfather owned the IGA stores in Troy and Brundidge and his father managed the IGA in Brundidge. Jones worked at his father’s IGA from the time he was a child through high school, and even continued working there after the business was sold to the Garrett family. In high school, he began working at Dykes Drugs in Brundidge.
“I knew that I wanted to be in health care while I was working in the pharmacy, but really didn’t know what I was going to do,” Jones said. “Health care was something I knew I wanted to do, in some form, from the time I was 15 years old working in the pharmacy.”
At first, Jones thought sports medicine was his future and he began to attend Troy University to pursue a career in that field.
“Apparently, you have to make good grades to do all of that and making good grades meant I had to apply myself and pay attention (in class) and I just wasn’t interested,” he said. “I didn’t party or anything, I don’t think I ever even went to a bar, but school just wasn’t working for me.”
After dropping out of college, Jones continued working at the pharmacy, by then owned by Melanie Hawkins.
“She had partnered with a company out of Central Florida called American Respiratory Solutions and we had a business in the back of the pharmacy that was a mail-order pharmacy that worked with companies throughout the Southeast,” said Jones. “I managed the backend and handled the mail-order pharmacy. When the time came for us to have a new sales rep to manage the territory I applied for the job really not thinking they would hire some uneducated kid who had never even left Brundidge.”
To Jones’ surprise, the owner of the company – Buddy Fletcher – flew to Troy and interviewed him in 2000.
“He interviewed me at the Holiday Inn restaurant in Troy in 2000, I’ll never forget that,” he said. “He hired me to be the territory manager and I got to cover nine states marketing for his business and marketing for Dykes Drug Store along with three others.”
For more than three years, Jones traveled throughout the Southeast and loved his job, as a single man. Then, he met his future wife Kristy and the traveling wasn’t nearly as attractive.
“As a single guy traveling for those three and a half years was the greatest job in the world,” Jones emphasized. “When I got hungry, I just hit the road and stayed gone for a few weeks and saw everything from Texas to Georgia and everything in between. Then, I met Kristy and the traveling wasn’t as much fun.”
Jones decided to take a job with a DME company based out of Dothan but a phone call with Fletcher changed his life.
“I called Buster and told him that I thought it was time for me to do something else,” he remembered. “That call changed everything for me. He said, ‘Give me another year. You go to Texas and fly home on the weekends, you’ll never stay gone for more than five days.’ He told me in another year that he would help me get started and we’d start a company in Troy.
“This was a man that had been in the industry longer than anybody, had dozens of DME companies and knew everything there was to know about the industry. For him to take a leap of faith on me just completely changed our lives and got us to this point today.”
Jones said that Fletcher was a man of his word and helped him launch Jones Medical Supply in Troy, a year later to the date.
“When we first started, 18 years ago, I was younger and dumber. My thoughts were that we could grow this and maybe have multiple locations,” Jones said. “The thing I didn’t know about this industry is that it would literally change every year and we have no control over it. It’s all government and insurance based. If Medicare or insurance companies change something it could completely rock your world. We’ve been through all those changes and I knew immediately I had to do everything I could to hang on and having another (location) made no sense.”
Jones Medical Supply offers home oxygen, power mobility, back braces, diabetic shoes, CPAP machines, Bilevel machines, masks and other home medical supplies.
For more than 16 years Jones Medical Supply in Troy remained Jones’ only location, until 2022. Jones was speaking with his friend, Chris Sells, who had become a state representative, and said that his new job was eating into his time to spend with his company, Sells Medical Supply in Greenville.
“He said that it was time for him to go fishing,” Jones said with a laugh. “He told me to get with his manager, Dana Carlton, and see about buying the business. We sat and talked and in a three or four month timeframe we made that happen. On Jan. 1, 2022, Dana and I bought the Greenville location.
“She was his manager for years and she handles everything over there. Chris told me when I bought it, ‘Get out of her way and let that staff work and they’ll do a great job.’ He was 100 percent correct. It’s a great staff and they handle everything there from a day-to-day aspect.”
The growth of Jones Medical Supply wasn’t done, though. Last week, Jones opened a new location in Dothan, which will specialize in CPAPs.
“My partner Buster’s two sons have been in the industry for decades and those two are still my partners to this day,” Jones said. “They have a few locations in Birmingham and they kind of built the blueprint that we’re using in the Dothan store. We watched that grow and determined that Dothan was the right size market to do the same things they had done.”
Jones Medical Supply has also become a big supporter of Troy University and Troy University Athletics despite Jones growing up as an Auburn fan.
“Anyone that knew me as a teenager knew me as an obnoxious Auburn fan,” Jones said. “That was based on my dad growing up in Auburn and he just passed it on to us.”
In 2001, Jones was living with two roommates who both worked in the athletic department at the time. After meeting legendary Troy coach Larry Blakeney, Jones went all-in with the Trojans.
“I will never forget going to an event one night and Coach Blakeney was there,” he said. “Chuck (Dunn) introduced me and said that I was one of those guys that likes Auburn and Troy. I remember Coach Blakeney looking me in the eyes and saying, ‘That’s great but we sure do wish you were just Troy.’ I said, ‘Coach, I don’t see any reason why I can’t be.’
“From that day forward it changed. It’s 2001, so Troy was going Division I and everything just clicked. This was before I was a business guy and I thought there’s no reason for me to support a team I had no connection with. I live in Troy, this is my town and my team, why not be all in? Once we started the business in 2005, that’s when I realized we could partner with the university at many levels. Also, Kristy was a graduate of Troy, so it just made sense to give back to the university that had given her so much, as well as a way to solidify that we’re all in for Troy and Pike County.”
Jones’ support for the university goes further than advertising or donating to the athletic department; he’s become one of the biggest supporters of Troy Athletes in terms of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), as well.
“We saw the NIL stuff, read all the rules and tried to figure out as much as we could and it just made sense to find a way to use these guys to market our band, while at the same time being able to market their brand,” Jones said. “It started out with Carlton Martial and (Troy native) Scott Taylor Renfore. I’ve known Scott Taylor his whole life and obviously we knew what Carlton was going to do, so those two guys just made sense to be our first two and it exploded from there.
“We aren’t doing million dollar deals but the little we do, I feel like it goes a long way to give them some spending money and also allows us to have that personal connection and allows us to do some advertising that’s different than anyone else. It’s also a way to solidify the partnership between local business and Troy University.”
With three locations already, Jones said that more growth isn’t out of the question for the future of Jones Medical Supply, but he’s concentrating on bringing the Troy, Greenville and Dothan locations more success.
“We have to keep our head above water and keep doing what we’re doing now,” he said. “I’d love to have a place down closer to the beach at some point but there is a lot of variables that have to play out to make that happen.
“Right now, it’s just about growing what we have and grow this Dothan branch to what I think it can be and keep running Troy and Greenville the way it’s being done. I couldn’t do any of this without my staff at the Troy location and the staff at Greenville and my family being so phenomenal. There’s lots of nights when I leave the dinner table to go take care of someone.”
Jones Medical Supply in Troy is located at 519 S. Brundidge Street. For more information, visit jonesmed.com.