Years ago, Tim Richards drove forklifts and unloaded semis until he realized that wasn’t the right career for him. What he really liked to do was shop.
“I’m a people person,” Tim says. In 2012 he and his wife Anita opened Tim’s 1, a general store in Tipton that sells seasonal items – everything from lawn and garden supplies to holiday decor.
“We were going to name the store Tim’s, but that was taken so we had to put a ‘1’ behind it,” Tim says. “Then I went to secure an email address and ‘Tims1’ was taken so I had to go with ‘Tims11.’”
This month marks the store’s 10-year anniversary. Their slogan since its inception has been, “A little store with a big heart.” It’s not so little anymore.
“We started out in the front and expanded into the back,” Tim says. “We’re probably at 9,000 square feet now.” They carry wind chimes, lanterns, plants, flowers, yard flags, hanging baskets, metal signs, wooden signs, candles, incense and more. They also sell clothing, fudge and toys, and have the distinction of being number one in the state for carrying the most bulk Jelly Belly jelly beans.
Their plants, mums and pumpkins are all grown by the Amish. Customers drive from all over the place to purchase flowers and plants from Tim’s 1 because they know the products will last. Last year they sold nearly 14,000 mums.
The couple truly cares about the people in their community, which is why they regularly give back – particularly in ways that benefit kids. For instance, during back-to-school season they donate $3,000 worth of school supplies. Each fall they give every local student in preschool through fifth grade a free pumpkin. They also donate $1,000 to Toys for Tots each December.
“We used to do a First Responders Cake Walk, where instead of drawing a letter, you’d draw a fireman’s name out,” Anita says. “It helps kids get to know their local firefighters. This way, if there’s ever a fire at their house, kids know who’s on the other end of the line.”
In years past, Tim and Anita have spent $5,000 to decorate the town with lights, including the police station, fire station and Pizza Shack.
“I was born and raised here so I want the town to look nice,” Tim says.
They have donated door prizes to the Cicero Township Volunteer Fire Department for their chili supper silent auction, as well as $3,000 worth of door prizes to the town bowling league as they have raised money for scholarships.
In addition, they donate to the police station’s summer social.
“We usually donate 60 to 100 different items for door prizes,” Tim says. “Since they couldn’t have this fundraiser for the past two years, this year we plan to present them with a $1,000 check to help get their funds back up.”
For a long time, the couple tried to keep a low profile about their community donations as they didn’t want to appear boastful. Word spread anyway and as it did, more people began patronizing Tim’s 1 because they wanted to support store owners who give back.
“Pretty soon I realized that the more people knew, the more people would shop and the more I could give, so it became a good circle,” Tim says.
Currently, both Tim and Anita are facing some difficult health issues. Tim is battling Stage 4 cancer, and Anita has progressive Charcot foot, which involves the deterioration of bone and can possibly lead to amputation.
“We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, but we’re still very blessed people,” Anita says. “The community has helped us out a lot.”
Not only have the people of Tipton offered up lots of prayers, but they have also stepped in to help wherever needed. For instance, there have been times when a shipment of pottery, flowers or heavy items came in, and the police department, fire department and other community members helped to unload the trailer.
In January Tim buys for the following Christmas season. In July he starts buying items for the following spring.
“It’s kind of a guessing game trying to figure out what’s going to be hot next year,” he says. “But I do love to shop. My wife says I buy too much sometimes.”
While Tim’s on the road shopping in Tennessee and Kentucky, Anita stays back at the store setting out merchandise and taking care of customers.
“I’m a firm believer that you’re only as good as the woman who is standing beside you,” Tim says. “If you’ve got someone who is involved and helps out, the business is going to flourish. Anita is a big reason this store has grown like it has. She’s always been by my side and that makes all the difference.”
Tim is an auctioneer too, and is now doing auctions based out of the store. People can bring in their consignment items and sell them through online auctions. They charge a nominal fee that’s considerably less than most auctioneers (15 to 20%, rather than 35 to 40%).
“My feeling is, if I make a living I don’t need to get rich from it,” Tim says. “We don’t make a ton of money, but we enjoy what we do and get to do it together.”
Tim’s 1 is located at 123 South Independence Street in Tipton. For more information, call 765-635-5403 or visit Tim’s 1 on Facebook.