Todd Whitten travels far and wide to find unique furniture and home accessories that you won’t see in other stores – straight from the Pacific Rim and into the homes of St. Augustine.
Treasure hunting in Thailand, deal brokering in Indonesia and antiquing in China – just another day at the office for Todd Whitten, owner of T. Gregory Imports! But as Todd and his partner, Romey Maloy, will tell you, the glamour and adventure do not come without a healthy dose of hard work. A step inside T. Gregory Imports offers visual proof of their tireless efforts and pride in their work. The store is bursting at the seams with beautiful handcrafted furniture and home accessories that carry out the mission of the store – to “add some wow factor to any room in your house.”
Retail Pro in the Making
Todd’s retail roots run deep, all the way back the small town in Louisiana where he grew up. Raised in a family that owned clothing and convenience stores, Todd was immersed in the inner workings of retail from a young age. After going to jeweler school, he opened his own jewelry and fine clothing store. His store was successful in his small town for many years, but he suddenly found himself jobless when the store burned down in a fire. He began traveling on the road wholesaling clothing and jewelry, and eventually accepted a position with a wholesale sterling silver jewelry company, a position which relocated him to Arkansas. That company was bought by another headquartered in Jacksonville, resulting in Todd’s relocation to the First Coast. Todd soon realized it was time to part ways with his employer around the same time that his partner, Romey Maloy, was retiring from a nursing career, so the starts aligned – the two decided to open their own store and T. Gregory Imports was born.
The Love of the Hunt
Talk to Todd Whitten about his business and he’s sure to tell you what he loves best is the hunt. His treasure hunting takes him primarily to Thailand, China, and Indonesia. Generally speaking, he goes to Thailand for home accessories, China for antique and reclaimed wood pieces, and Indonesia for the larger furniture pieces. Not one item sold in the store is mass produced – everything is unique and hand-selected by Todd himself from “mom and pop” shops. You won’t find these pieces in any other stores. Todd embarks on his treasure hunting trips three or four times per year, for two to three weeks at a time, depending on the need. Of the three countries, Todd finds his time in Thailand the most enjoyable. The country is clean, easy to traverse, and beautiful to see. The Thai people are known for their friendliness, and Todd loves to observe how they can take raw materials and make beautiful things with them.
What to Expect Inside
Todd and Romey take pride in the fact that their store carries pieces you will not find anywhere else. Todd is always traveling and the inventory is always changing. In addition to unique furniture, antiques, and home accessories, you can also find an extensive offering of art. Some of the art is imported (namely large abstract pieces hand selected from China), but the store showcases the work of Kathy Frozio, a local artist based in Jacksonville Beach. Kathy keeps the walls of T. Gregory looking vibrant with her coastal “beachy” impressionism paintings.
T Gregory Imports is open 7 days a week at the St. Augustine store, as well as their Jacksonville Beach location. Be sure to mark your calendar for the evening of April 21, T Gregory Imports will be hosting an Open House in their St. Augustine store featuring special sales, wine, and prize giveaways!