After nearly 30 years hidden in the Gregory Lane industrial area, JB Appliance is preparing to move into a new multi-kitchen showroom south of town.
Operations manager Chris Sentz said the move will come after “almost a year of planning and preparation.” Workers are still putting the showroom together in space next to Delcon on South Park Drive, across the highway and just south of Rafter J.
The space is the old home of Demco, a wholesale electrical supply house. Its 2,600 square feet is about the same JB’s old home on Berger Lane but offers 20-foot ceilings, enough indoor storage for all the stock and a bright place to show off the merchandise.
“To do in the old building what we can do here would have meant a huge cost” in remodeling the 1992 building, Sentz said. “This is really bringing us into the 21st century.”
In its business JB is “definitely the largest in town,” Sentz said, “especially when you consider we do installation and service. We keep it all in house.”
JB started in 1976 as JB Mechanical in space near the intersection of Broadway and South Park Loop Road and moved in 1992 to Berger Lane.
The name JB was inspired by the first names of the two creators of the business, Jim Wilson and Butch Willard.
Wilson, a Jackson native, ran Wilson Construction Company, started by his father, and was a longtime member of the board at St. John’s Hospital and one of the developers of the Rafter J subdivision.
Willard’s family moved to Jackson in 1940, when he was a boy, and he later was in the earth moving business. He ran for county commissioner in 1984.
JB passed later to Sandy Divan, and after him to his children, daughter Cindy and sons Randy and Sandy. During those years it began the shift from mechanical work toward appliances.
Last May the company was bought by Orion, a group of construction and home companies. Orion, headed by New West Building Company owner Robert Huggins and other investors, includes Delcon and New West, JB Plumbing, Lawngevity, South Park Metal works, Patagonia Painting and several other businesses.
Manager Sentz, in Jackson for 15 years, has been at JB for 12. His father-in-law, Shane Ward, has worked in mountain operations at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for more than 40 years, and worked at JB when he was in high school.
Among JB’s seven employees, Tyson Young has been there 15 years and Steve Madsen for eight.
Besides a lot of home appliances the new showroom will have four kitchen setups to show how everything might look installed. Appliances that are part of the cabinetry is the way kitchens have been going for years, Sentz said. When appliances aren’t in-cabinet, he said, the trend has been to white, black and stainless-steel finishes, away from the colors popular in the 1970s and ’80s — think avocado and butterscotch — though that sort of thing is often still available.
Makers represented are led by Sub-Zero, a makers of refrigerators and freezers; Wolf Appliances, which makes cooking gear of all kinds; and Cove, which makes washing machines and dryers. The three names are part of one corporation.
Another big seller is Whirlpool, the American maker whose products Sentz said JB “has more of in stock than anybody within 100 miles.”
There are usually about 150 major appliances in stock, Sentz said: “We’re going to have a lot of stuff in here.”
Other manufacturers are Fisher & Paykel, GE, Miele and KitchenAid.
Sentz said that in recent years JB has typically sold close to 400 refrigerators and dishwashers and about 250 washer-and-dryer combos. Sales are made just a bit easier by the offer of quick delivery and installation, and because of the advantage of local repair work.
Besides the usual appliances, JB also offers pizza ovens, barbecues and odd items like a computerized wine dispenser, made by a company called Plum, that taps the bottle via a needle-like probe that pierces the cork, draws the wine and infuses the bottle with argon to keep the vino fresh for up to 90 days.
JB Appliance is located at 3520 South Park Drive.
You can call 733-5244 or check the website, JBWyo.com.