J & G Variety, on Hwy 72 in West Limestone County, is owned by Danny and LaDonna Vaughn, and has been taking care of floral and hardware needs in our community for nearly 40 years. Their store is located at 14535 Hwy 72 in Athens, and it is a legend in our town and beyond. Danny and LaDonna have found a way to give their store, (which Danny’s parents started in a less than 900 sq feet block building) the feeling of being both local and global as to their wares, and they have come to need every inch of the blue 30,000 sq foot building that today houses J&G to do so. They travel to trade shows on the West Coast as well as Texas, and look for the highest quality merchandise at the best possible prices, whether it be silk flowers, tools, camping supplies, home décor or items for pet care. However, I can say from experience that the store has the “hometown feel” that can only come from outstanding and personal customer service.
Speaking from the “flower side of the house,” J& G is unique because it has more than 1,000 silk saddle arrangements on display, and close to 1,000 silk vase inserts to choose from. “Most florists have less than 100 arrangements on display,” Danny told me. In addition, they have every type of tool you could ever want or need, and all under one roof. This unusual “arrangement” came about as the result of James and Gayle Vaughn, (Danny’s parents,) opening up a small convenience store about 38 years ago with the usual gas, milk, eggs, bread, soda, and ice. Gayle started doing silk flower arranging, which were mostly created for memorials, and it wasn’t long before that was the big draw to the store. They then moved from a 900 sq ft shop to a 5,000 square ft store, which was added on to a total of 5 times until it became the 30,000 sq ft store of today. James and Gayle realized that the husbands needed something to look through while their wives shopped for silk flowers, and the idea of “Variety” grew much bigger. They added tools with such well-known names as DeWalt, Skil, Black and Decker, and others, and the rest is history. No other place in the Tennessee Valley can you find such brilliantly colored and carefully crafted arrangements, and at such reasonable prices.
LaDonna, along with Wanda Johnson, Jody Taylor, Linda Blackwell, Brittney Chandler, (Danny and LaDonna’s daughter,) and Debbie Jeffreys are the first ones you’ll meet and see hard at work when you walk in the door. They have always taken great care of me, and one time calmly put the last touch on a ribbon cluster before we had to get out of the store due to a storm. They are so good at what they do that people come from New York, Michigan, Indiana and all over Alabama to select either an existing arrangement on display, or have one custom made, and flower making supplies have to be ordered by the container full to keep up with the demand. The containers with flowers for the holidays will be starting to arrive soon, and as always, the store will be buzzing.
Danny told me, “No one has this level of visual display. A person can go through the boxes of loose flowers, and pick exactly what they want for their custom order piece. No one beats our prices, either,” he told me. That is because they deal in volume, both buying and selling. They also check to make sure that the colors don’t run, and while all outdoor arrangements will eventually fade, their colors stay brighter longer.
Speaking from the “hunting/hardware side of the house,” (which is held down by Danny and Zack Zirbel,) J&G is more than ready for dove season, which starts September 1st.They have added a new line to their tactical supplies called “Voodoo,” and still have a lot of Red Rock equipment. “Both are high quality, made from good material,” Danny told me. J&G Variety also carries holsters, cross draw vests, ghillie suits, all weather backpacks, range bags, and parachute cord, along with camping and survival gear. One of the ghillie suits looks like it’s made out of Spanish moss, and they have several types of camo netting. They have cast iron cookware, percolators, camp stoves, and they even have a flashlight that shines 500 yards! So, if you are looking for anything from wedding flowers to welding supplies, come visit J&G Variety, now in its third generation of operation.
J and G Variety
14535 Hwy 72, Athens AL, 35611
Hours: Mon-Sat 9-5
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner