Posted on: June 9, 2021
About Mullenix MarketJeff Stokes started the Mullenix Market project after assembling several pieces of property in the 80s. Jeff wanted to honor his father, a Vietnam War Veteran, and his tireless work ethic, with a belief that the recipe for success always was in their customers’ happiness. Jeff got involved in the family auction business, Stokes Auction and Auction Acres, in 1976 and since then has won many worldwide awards such as the 1987 World Champion livestock auctioneer, 1993 World Champion Auto Auctioneer, and 2003 International Champion Auctioneer. Jeff is the first and only person to win the triple crown of auctioneering, and Jeff was also selected for the 2006 Auction Hall of Fame. Jeff has been an instructor at the western College of Auctioneering since he was 19 and still teaches the art of auctioneering in Montana throughout the year.
The Stokes family has lived and breathed South Kitsap County for four decades, and Jeff’s father served as Port Commissioner for 20 years. The roots the Stokes family have in the area are deepened throughout the community by giving back with charity auctions. Jeff founded the largest charity auction business with Stokes Auction Group in 1992, and has raised millions from 700 charity auctions prior to COVID. Jeff has served many wonderful causes, but when asked his favorite, “It would definitely be Celebrity fight night in Phoenix that was hosted by Muhamad Ali, and working alongside emcee Reba McEntire. Jeff also has done auctions for Andrea Bocelli in Florence, Italy and the Ted Turner family in Atlanta. But, it is always helping a child in need that brings the most satisfaction, whether it’s through Make-A-Wish, JDRF or any child related cause.
Jeff started the zoning process for Mullenix Market in 2009. He then started the permitting process in 2013 with some challenges due to road construction. Permits were approved in 2017, and he had to buy another acre of land next to his property for stormwater. In 2018 he broke ground on Mullenix Market. Financing came through after the Covid shutdown in May 2020, then it was game on with construction. Construction hit snags with supplies and building but forged ahead and was completed in September 2021. He opened his dream store, Mullenix Market, on September 9th, 2021.
Mullenix Market & Harbor Wholesale
Jeff is a businessman but has no experience in owning or operating a gas station, and that’s where Harbor came into play. The goal was to have the store be a deli with gas. One of the best benefits was being able to do a 180 degree pivot with Patty, Harbor’s LDC-Central Regional Sales Manager, as Covid was shutting down everything. Harbor, and Patty, have given Jeff confidence, taking him by the hand and showing him other stores, where store owners assisted with hands on experience and advice for operating a convenience store. Jeff was offered tours of other stores, cooking opportunities and examples aplenty of other successful stores. He was able to take these ideas & advice and implement it at Mullenix Market.
Through this journey Mullenix Market had 3 visions for what the store could be. The Mullenix Market team is so thankful to have partnered with Harbor to have help through all it. Those ideas were:
Deli and gasFoodservice only through the drive throughToday, a hybrid model of both
One of the biggest surprises was the community and how they have supported this new location. With each new guest comes a local neighbor coming by to say how delighted they are to have the new store there. Many customers have watched and waited with anticipation, and all came to our aid to support Mullenix Market with their kindness, patronage and spirit of community.
When Jeff is asked “What is the single best attribute of your early success”? It would be easy to thank Sun Pacific energy, Harbor Wholesale, his contractors, his food or beverage providers but it is actually people and their big hearts within these organizations. One doesn’t take on a build like this without friends, partners and trusted people. Patty displayed patience, compassion and true care towards the changing journey. She was there for every phone call, every change and by Jeff’s side the day they opened, and still part of his days now that they are 30 days in. Fritz, Harbor’sFoodservice Sales Developer, has helped design Mullenix’ Market’s foodservice program. Esther, Harbor’s Store Solution Manager, has helped set their store. Ronnie, Harbor’s Territory Sales Manager, has helped every day with products, designs and more.
Jeff is most grateful for the quality people that have all come to his aid in the development of Mullenix Market. He must also recognize the help of teammates, Brenda Ryon and Sherry Jones, as their years of convenience store business experience set the store up for success. Every bit of their success stems from people like Jeff’s father, his friends, neighbors and the professionals at Harbor.
Thank you Mullenix Market for being a great partner and going above and beyond to serve your community!