Recycling Experience Spawns New Niche for M.C.M. Fine Furniture
Recycling is anything but new to Melbourne’s Jim McMenamy, who ventured on his first recycling mission during the winter of 1944. The then 11-year-old scoured the streets of his New Jersey hometown for a couple of months and single-handedly collected more than 4,000 pounds of cardboard and newspapers that he turned over to World War II recycling officials. For his efforts, the young Boy Scout was awarded a medal of honor from the General Eisenhower Waste Paper Campaign and, most importantly, the incentive to delve into what has become a lifelong profession.
McMenamy and his wife, Arlene, formed East Coast Paper Stock, Inc. in 1966 – four years before the first Earth Day. The Rockledge-based firm is an essential midpoint for recyclable materials from businesses and homes throughout Florida. McMenamy’s firm now collects more in fifteen minutes than he did in two months as a Boy Scout, but he still credits his childhood war efforts with sparking his interest in recycling. “Nothing was ever wasted on my block,” he recalls. “When you grow up believing everything, no matter what, has a value, you learn not to throw things away.”
The company, now run by the senior McMenamy and his eldest son, Jay, currently employs approximately twenty people. It focuses its business on commercial recycling programs as well as handling residential recycling programs from local towns and cities.
Next Generation of Recyclers
Following in his father’s footsteps, McMenamy’s son, J.P., has begun another local business dealing in the secondary market. Following an illness that forced him to retire from his dad’s company after over 21 years, J.P. began his real estate career. “I promoted my real estate services to include staging my clients’ homes. I would warehouse high-end furniture and stage the vacant properties. An amazing client, to whom I sold a home on Lansing Island, said to me, ‘If I buy this house, you do the furnishing of the home, right?’ My response was ‘Of course,’ then wondering how I was going to accomplish this massive task of furnishing this 10,000 sq. ft. home in a matter of weeks.” He used experiences he and his wife, Teresa, gained when they had to refurnish their 7,300 sq. ft. home, following its destruction in the 2004 hurricanes.
“This huge project proved to be extremely educational and furthered our knowledge of the furniture industry. As the economy took its tumble and the high-end real estate market took a dive, we focused on past clients. Even though they could afford to keep their homes, they could not afford to sell them…. but they could afford new furniture.” As the economy declined even further, J.P. McMenamy used his lifelong experiences in the recycling and trash business to begin M.C.M. Fine Furniture, a furniture clearance warehouse located in the Suntree Business Center on Suntree Boulevard. “All industries produce waste, including the furniture business. Waste can include overruns, overstocks, discontinued lines, vendor cancellations and their samples from the national furniture markets. I made agreements to purchase overruns directly from the high-end manufacturers based in North Carolina.”
“It’s a very fast decision and transaction process. The offers are made and I must respond within a day or two or the overruns are gone.” Furniture is warehoused in our North Carolina facility and then shipped to Suntree. Overruns can be purchased in bulk, 50-70 percent off wholesale, so we are able to provide extremely high-end furniture at or below its wholesale cost.”
“Furniture has an extremely high mark-up, and justifiably so. The price per square foot for a showroom is extremely high, therefore I have taken the knowledge I learned from my father and rented a 6,000 sq. ft. warehouse with low rent. This, combined with my low purchase price, allows me to sell a gold leaf dining table and chairs by E.J. Victor with a retail of over $20,000 for $2,800, or a Bernhardt sofa that retails for over $4,000 for $720; but I may only have one available. Customers come in over and over to see what new treasures we have, including Henredon, Maitland-Smith, Ralph Lauren, Century and countless others.