How it all Began

Original location on corner of Powerline and Hillsboro where Publix is now located.

 

Jane (left) checks prices.

Jane, closed on Mondays. Now open 7 days a week.9-6m-sat, 10-5 sun.

Jane used baskets, now we use bins. Original scale on left is still in store.

Lot J & J farms Market 2777 W. Hillsboro Blvd

Owner, Jon builds J & J

construction in front of Constitution Park

View, Hillsboro before Logo

sold  x-mas trees on side

We also used to sell pumpkins.

Inside store before wood & doors.

Original location of registers. Now the herb produce.

Blackboards on the walls, Crew.

produce bins toward bathroom

Later update of produce bin toward bathroom

Expanding with wood walls and bins.

View of cooler & veggie bins

store Mid 80’s

Over 30 years later thanks to our customers.

Over 35 years, (sadly, city had bus bench removed) thankful to customers! 

History of J & J Farms

In 1982 Jane, my late, ex-wife since 2005, and I traveled down from Buffalo, NY in a Winnebago in search of new beginnings in New Mexico.  Fate jumped in and without much money in our pockets we were gratefully offered to help manage a Christmas tree lot at Oakland and 441 in South Florida.

When Christmas passed, the Winnebago needed repairs so we searched out a place to park.  The first trailer park we tried wanted a whopping $300 a month!  Our funds were not that grandiose so we quickly moved on our search.  One of the lots from the Christmas season had a beautiful tree, ideal for a homey feel.  We approached the owners, a nice German couple and asked if we may rent and park our Winnebago there for the next few months.  At a $100 a month we set up our home in Lighthouse Point.

After several months of residing at that location we befriended the owners.   One day they offered us the opportunity to open a produce stand at the corner of Hillsboro and Powerline.   Not knowing anything about produce, we accepted.  Still not having much money, Jane picked up extra cash with house cleaning.  We needed materials for tables, a deck on the back of the Winnebago and signs for our venture.

Sometime in February there was a huge storm so afterward we went to Deerfield Beach to watch the waves.  Once we arrived we noticed the beach was covered with virgin lumber of all different shapes and sizes. It was almost as if someone knew what we needed.  We asked if anyone could take the lumber and they said yes so we hurried back to the German couple that had an old 1950’s pick-up truck to collect the lumber.  We filled the truck up twice and then used it to build 2 tables and the deck.  The following year we used the remaining lumber to build our produce stand.

Now the work began. We had no idea where to get produce.  After going to Mecca’s, a local u-pick farm we soon became friends with them because they were also from the Buffalo area.  We went every morning and picked our own strawberries, tomatoes and peppers.  Our first day of total sales was approximately $33.00.  By the time the growing season had ended we realized there was enough potential to come back the following year and make produce our business.

After spending the summer in Buffalo, NY we came back down and built a permanent structure. I borrowed more seed money from Gramps for a trailer to live in behind the store.  Eventually we expanded the business with coolers and a full line of produce.  We also got into seasonal sales with pumpkins and Christmas trees.  After 3 years of establishing our business the owners sold the property to a developer who turned it into Deerfield Mall with Publix as one of its core strip mall stores.  We had a well-established clientele so we wanted to find a new property close by.  After a month of searching the lot we’re on now opened up for sale. Once again I borrowed money from Gramps to purchase the lot and we built our building.

Thanks to all of you for taking me on a journey of health and happiness!

March 2018 marks our 35th year in the produce business.

Jonathan DiLapo

5 thoughts on “How it all Began

  1. Wonderful success story… I remmember shopping at the 441 & Hillsboro stand.
    You are alwys included on our shopping runs …Happy birthday J.

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Really loved your story and free enterprise venture!!

    Go man go…. My wife n I finally drove in and we both were amazed at the quality n atmosphere of ur store n reasonable prices for the quality.

    You R now regular stop for us and we will be bird dogging for you.

    We are very proud of you!!

    Mark L.

  3. We have shopped at J&J for past 10 years & have always enjoyed the friendly staff, top noth fruit & prices! Great success story! As a small business owner myself, I know the hours, sweat & hard work that needs to be done. Congrats for 30+ years & here’s to another 50+ years of success!
    All the best!

    BillB & family

  4. First time I entered the store was in March of 2015, I reside in Pompano Beach, so you’re not exactly close but, when ever I appear at the ILF’s or ALF’s in the area I stop in, and I’m glad to do so…Your store is the top produce center in South Florida as far as I’m concerned and your story is inspirational. Hope you have a great summer, we will miss you!

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