“I like what I’m doing and we have some good clientele. It’s still fun,” said Jones, who has run the business for 25 years — or long enough to sell about 80 of the distinctive metal giraffes, he estimates.
After being put on the market for $600,000, Jones said the property attracted a couple good offers, including one from a prospective buyer who aimed to convert the space into a coffee shop. Although the building was up for sale, it was unclear what would become of the business itself because Jones said he was open to selling to someone who planned to keep the shop as is.
The building that houses Gringo Jones Imports, a fixture in the Shaw neighborhood for 25 years, is for sale. Owner Leon Jones is only planning to sell the building, but for the right price the contents could go as well.
Ultimately, Jones chose to stay the course with his current operations. In recent days, he has taken the property off the market, and said he plans to continue running the shop for the foreseeable future.
As recently as a few months ago, Jones, 73, had expressed an urge to spend more time in Southern Illinois, where he is from and has family. But now, he says he has “no desire” to retire.
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Of the many people who reached out or commented on his announced intention to sell, Jones said the list included longtime supporters who live outside the city, and who seek out the store’s oddities during trips for check-ups at nearby hospitals or stops at the Missouri Botanical Garden, just down the street.
He says he “even got a call from a lady from Scotland,” who periodically comes to St. Louis to visit family, and for whom the store is a favorite destination.
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