After enjoying a successful career for over 25 years, Richmond resident and treasured Better2getherRVA supporter, Andy Taylor retired from corporate life. But he knew he wasn’t ready to sit back and slow down. “I was looking to write the next chapter,” he shares.
As Andy explored various professional paths, he had a few criteria in mind. The most important one was to find a business opportunity that would be an ideal fit for his young adult son, Hunter, who was born with hearing loss and is deaf.
“Hunter was lucky enough to be one of the first children to be surgically fitted with a Medel cochlear implant, so he was able to retrain his ability to communicate,” Andy explains. “Ultimately, Hunter went to college, was a successful volleyball athlete, and was recruited and played for, Team USA on the Deaf Olympic team.”
However, one significant challenge for Hunter as he pursued his own career opportunities was to find a business that would allow him to apply his strong entrepreneurial skills, without requiring a significant amount of time communicating over the phone.
Because communicating over the phone is an integral aspect of many corporate jobs, Andy and Hunter started looking for businesses that didn’t rely heavily on telephone communication. However, that was only the first of their requirements.
“We wanted to find something that was environmentally focused because that is important to our family and we felt would become a major focus in years to come,” says Andy. “Also, we wanted something that would allow us to give back to the RVA community that has been so generous to us over the past three decades.”
During this time – in 2016 – Andy and his wife were in the process of downsizing from their Hanover County home and realized that there was a major shortage of eco-friendly options to dispose of unwanted items.
And that’s how Junkluggers of Central Virginia was born.
“At the time, Junkluggers was a young franchise organization. We were the 15th franchisee, and the first in Virginia. Now there are 132 territories,” Andy explains. “What struck me was their commitment to be a green-focused operation. Junkluggers felt strongly that they wanted to come up with a better mousetrap and become a sustainable operation. They saw the division of the haves and the have-nots beginning to grow, and asked the question, ‘Why throw things out that can be useful for others?’”
“We felt that we could do some good here in the Richmond area,” Andy says. “We throw away enough usable furniture and household items to furnish over a thousand homes annually in the Richmond and Tri-Cities area. This just made sense.”
For the first few years, Andy and his team would pick up items, fill up trucks, and deliver them to places like Habitat for Humanity, Caritas, and Church groups where they could be shared with the community.
And then Covid hit.
Covid led to padlocks on the doors of many local charities and required a new distribution model. “I rented multiple storage units and we found ourselves busting at the seams. I didn’t have the capacity,” Andy shares.
“We made a significant decision back them to look for our own space. In the spring of 2021, we found our 12,500-square-foot location in Ashland. Instead of dropping items off, we streamlined our operation and the charities can now come to our warehouse,” he explains. “We also transformed the front of the building to become ReMix Market RVA. We sell some of the items that don’t meet the criteria of the charity *re-stores* instead of dumping them in local landfills. Many of those items attract furniture flippers and DIY-ers, and we also have tools, outdoor equipment, toys, and more.”
“We developed ReMix out of a necessity because our pre-Covid model wasn’t working anymore,” Andy shares. Today, ReMix has become its own unique and thriving entity. “We have an outstanding staff at ReMix, everyone here is part of our family,” says Andy. “My wife, daughter, and son all put time in occasionally. My daughter is graduating from VCU with a teaching degree and works here part-time. My wife is an Occupational Therapist and helps on weekends. Our son has taken what he’s learned here and now owns his own similar business in San Diego.”
“Consistent with our mission to give back, we made a decision that a portion of the profits from items sold on the floor would be donated to a charity,” Andy says.
After supporting another local charity for the past five years, Andy and his team wanted to spread the wealth.
While investigating various Richmond-area non-profits, Andy learned about Better2getherRVA and knew it would be an ideal fit with their mission to support an organization that makes a direct and meaningful impact on the community. “B2G has the ability to reach a lot of families,” explains Andy. “And we knew that the funds we donate will be going to the right places. We were also impressed with the B2G leadership. They are very passionate about what they do.”
Each quarter, ReMix shares a portion of its proceeds with Better2getherRVA to help fund much-needed programs and services for families of children with complex medical challenges. Their first donation was a $2000 check.
“The Richmond community has been good to my family, and we wanted to give back,” Andy shares. “It feels natural that if you’re in a position to help others, it’s important to do so. The more you give, the more you receive.”
Better2getherRVA is so thankful for their generous and meaningful partnership with Junkluggers Central Virginia and ReMix. Their recent gift allows Better2gether to meet the demand for services in the community and accept new families seeking support caring for their medically complex child. Andy and his team are truly making the community a better place – both through their commitment to sustainability and enhancing the lives of children with medical complexities and families.