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Patti and Larry Scruggs will expand their showroom and warehouse at 11741 Philips Highway. They added furniture to their office supplies inventory.
Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Jan. 7, 201512:00 PM EST

Gator Office Products expanding

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Gator Office Products Inc. intends to almost triple in size along Philips Highway.

“We are rocking and rolling right now,” said Larry Scruggs, whose wife, Patti, is majority owner of the company.

They said the $1.2 million project should be completed by April at its warehouse, office and small showroom center at 11741 Philips Highway.

“If you have seen our building, the front of the building looks like the ‘80s called and said they want their building back,” Larry Scruggs said.

Larry Scruggs said the front of the building is being removed and a much larger showroom will be built. It will feature a glass front and parking lot.

Patti Scruggs said the company has a total of 8,689 square feet of space now, but will expand to about 21,000 square feet.

The office space will increase by about 300 square feet to 2,000 square feet. The showroom will more than double to 4,284 square feet.

Warehouse space will comprise most of the expansion, from about 5,000 square feet to 14,328 square feet.

The warehouse expansion should be completed by early February.

Gator Office Products has applied for a building permit to add a metal warehouse addition and storefront at a project cost of $725,000.

MSD Construction & Contracting of Starke is the contractor.

The company is adding furniture to its traditional lines of office and janitorial products, continuing a cycle of family entrepreneurship.

Larry Scruggs’ parents, who died in 2012 and 2013, started Gator Office Furniture Warehouse in 1972.

He explained that his wife and he have run Gator Office Products for 26 years. After his parents died, he and his wife decided to take on that business.

“We decided to open it back up,” he said. The official name remains Gator Office Products Inc.

Gator Office Products created a doing-business-as for Gator Office Furniture with the target of recouping much of the business.

It’s a story of a family business.

Larry Scruggs joined his parents at their established Gator Office Products Inc. in 1986 and started selling items other than the original typewriters.

He ventured into selling typewriter ribbons and supplies that would bring back return customers.

Larry and Patti Scruggs began selling office supplies in 1996 because a specific customer asked them to be its supplier.

His parents then ventured into selling office furniture. In November 2007, Patti and Larry Scruggs bought the office supplies side of Gator Office Products and took the name Gator Office Products. The parents changed their business name to Gator Office Furniture Warehouse.

Jacksonville residents might remember that Gator Office Furniture Warehouse operated along Beach Boulevard near University Boulevard, with furniture and supply cabinets lining the front of the building.

Brooks Rehabilitation bought the site in 2000 and allowed Gator Office Furniture Warehouse to remain until the hospital needed the land to build a skilled-nursing facility. That project is under construction.

Gator Office Furniture Warehouse moved to 4827 Philips Highway in December 2012.

Larry Scruggs’ mother died in September 2012. His father returned to working full time, “but we lost him from a broken heart in May 2013,” Patti Scruggs said.

The couple said Larry’s sister chose not to run the furniture business.

Larry Scruggs said Gator Office Products Inc. is one of the few family-run independent companies remaining in the office supplies line of business.

“When this company started, it was typewriters and calculators,” he said. “We have been able to progress all the way through.”

Larry and Patti Scruggs shared the Beach Boulevard building until they moved in June 2007 to an industrial park. Through O.S.C. LLC, they bought their Philips Highway location in 2010, property records show. They moved there in August 2010.

The staff of 13 includes the couple and Larry III, their 23-year-old son who has been working with the company off and on for two years. He attends the University of North Florida and expects to graduate with a degree in communications in about a year.

Patti Scruggs said he is learning the furniture business and becoming an expert on measuring an office to fit the furniture that clients need.

“He has a great eye for design,” she said.

Hughes Supply relocating in West Jacksonville

Hughes Supply is relocating its Jacksonville warehouse within West Jacksonville.

The company will be downsizing space from about 70,000 square feet now to 42,000 square feet, according to spokesman Paul Collins and a building permit issued last week.

The Orlando-based company, founded in 1928, is part of Hajoca Corp. Hughes Supply has more than 75 wholesale locations in 12 states that provide plumbing supplies to residential, commercial, light industrial, institutional and government customers.

Collins said Hughes Supply has operated at 5311 Doolittle Road, north of West Beaver Street between Edgewood Avenue and Ellis Road, for about 20 years and in other locations before that.

Duckworth Construction Co. is renovating 42,000 square feet of space for Hughes Supply at 5595 Commonwealth Ave., less than a mile north, at a project cost of $227,911.

Collins said Hughes Supply expects to relocate by the end of January. He said the space reduction was because several divisions formerly shared the larger space.

[email protected]

@MathisKb

(904) 356-2466

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