Hello, I want to introduce myself. I am Jim Bennett with Jim Bennett’s Plumbing in Tallahassee; also with Advanced Builders and Remodelers in Tallahassee, Florida.
I was born in Waxhaw, North Carolina in 1945. I am the baby of nine children. My mother had lost a daughter and prayed for God to give her another baby when she lost her little daughter, and I came along.
As a young child my mom never did get up and say Sunday morning, “Jimmy, do you want to go to church this morning?” She said, “Jimmy, get up. We’re going to church this morning.” It never was my choice. It was momma’s choice. Coming from a very, very poor background like I did, we didn’t have a vehicle, so we walked to church every Sunday and every Wednesday night.
My daddy was not a Christian. He was a drinking man, so because of his influence in our life we came up very, very tough at an early age. My dad was the town drunk, and growing up in a little, small community as we did, and in the school and in the community – when your dad was a drunk you got mistreated. You were looked down upon.
Because of that I grew up fairly bitter at a young age because people would look down on me, and I would rebel. But anyway, I came up very, very poor.
I got into some trouble, went to reform school, stayed in reform school for one year. After I came out of reform school I’d walk around town and, I was a little shoeshine boy and I had my little shoeshine box, and I’d walk around town with my head down. I’d never look up at people. I’d never have eye contact with people. I felt like I was not worthy of being able to look up.
This group of missionaries moved to Waxhaw, and they didn’t treat me like the other folks in the little town where I was at treated me. They treated me special. I knew there was something different about them. They had a relationship with Christ that was real.
They mentored me and loved me and cared for me. I would spend everyday, just about, helping them build radios. After a short time they led me to Christ, and let me know that there was something important in my life, and that was a turning point.
Now after that I went in the Army, and stayed in there for three years. Did a tour in Korea, then ended up in Ozark, Alabama, where I stayed for 18 months.
When I got out of the Army I came to Tallahassee. I had a brother that was here and I came here and went to work with him.
I married in 1966, but after 21 years of marriage my wife and I divorced. And then I remarried three years later to a Godly woman, and I’m still married to this lady today. We’ve been married for 18 years.
During the process of all this happening I realized in my life I had a void, and that I needed to make a real change in my life. I recommitted my life. It wasn’t something that I had to go up in front of the church and say, “Hey, I’ve made a turning point in my life.” It was a commitment that I had with God in my life, that I had to make a conscious decision to rededicate my life and put God absolutely, 100% first in everything that I’ve done. From that day until now my life completely turned around. I mean, God made a difference in my finances. He made a difference in my marriage. He made a difference in my business.
When I went in business in 1969, I borrowed a 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck, and I didn’t have any money. I was living in a little rental house on Appalachee Parkway.
One day a guy came knocking on my door. I had mustered up enough money to buy me a little “bum” jacket, because it was cold. And this guy knocked on my door, and we invited him in, and we fed this guy. But the guy was very strange looking in his eyes. To this day, right now, I know that the guy that knocked on my door was an angel that God sent by my house. There’s no doubt about it.
He knocked on the door and I gave him my bum jacket, and I went and bought him a bus ticket and sent him to South Florida. And God just kept putting these people in my life. Because, see, I think God’s got to figure out whether He can get it through you to know whether to get it to you.
At that time I was making $35-$40 a week in my business. Shortly after that I started making $50 a week - $100 a week – first thing you know I was making $1,000 a week. And it was just a God thing. I mean, there’s no doubt about it.
Jim Bennett’s Plumbing - I remember the first time it did $100,000, and then I remember when it did the first million dollars a year in sales. Then I remember when it did two million dollars, then three million dollars, then last year – in sales – now that’s not in profit. There’s a difference between sales and profit. But between Advanced Builders and Jim Bennett’s Plumbing our sales last year was in excess of 15 million dollars.
And I’m still convinced today it’s the Christ Factor in my life. I mean God saw a little old nobody and made a somebody out of him.