When John Cassimus started his new business venture in 2019, he didn’t have to consult a marketing firm or go through research to find the perfect name. He found it closer to home.
“Cazboy is a nickname that a bunch of my friends use,” he says. “And at the time I was coming up with this, when I’d explain what we were going to do, people would say, ‘That’s crazy.’ That was the word that was used every time to describe it.”
And that’s how Crazy Cazboy’s was born. How crazy is it? On Thursdays, the store is closed for stocking — liquidated items from Amazon, Target and other sources. On Fridays, everything in the store costs $7. Prices decrease, and on Wednesdays, everything in the store is 25 cents apiece. And it starts all over again on Thursday.
Crazy. And crazy successful.
“We’re the largest liquidator for Amazon in the world,” Cassimus says of the company he built with Jason Carrick of Ohio. “We’ve got five locations open now. We’re opening a store in Dallas quick, in Auburn quick, and trying to find six more stores to open by the end of the year. That would give us eight for this year, and that’s kind of what our growth model is. We’ll have 500 employees by the end of this year, if things go as planned.”
BEEN THERE, TRIED THAT
Even though he’s only 54, no one would have batted an eye if Cassimus had retired a few years ago. He’s been working non-stop since college, where he played football for the University of Alabama and earned a business degree. He eventually took Zoe’s Kitchen, the small restaurant owned by his mother, Zoe, and father, Marcus, and made it into a regional success, earning millions when the company sold. Other restaurant ventures were successful, too, but he sold them all a few years ago to put his attention into Sawtooth Plantation, his hunting lodge in South Alabama.
For a little while, Cassimus — a “serial entrepreneur” before people knew what that meant — thought he might hang up his business shoes and focus more on traveling the world, flying his plane, greeting famous friends like Luke Bryan and Chris Janson at Sawtooth and spending time with his daughter and family.
“I tried that, and I did have it in me for a while,” he says of retirement. “I enjoyed being at Sawtooth and putting all of my creative and hands-on energy into it. I spent a lot of time in the woods. I just didn’t have any ideas or anything I was interested in trying to do business-wise.”
What drew Cassimus back into the business world was liquidation — selling close-out and overstocked items from other retailers at a discounted price.
He was introduced to the liquidation world by Mike Jones, who had started the successful Mike’s Merchandise in Guntersville in the 1980s. Cassimus, who was dating Jones’ daughter, was fascinated by the business.
“You see the massive amounts of product coming in and going out, and it blows people’s minds,” Cassimus says. “The liquidation business is an eye-opening experience.”
So eye-opening that Cassimus “just started buying stuff,” he says. “I had two warehouses full of stuff, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.”
What he did was open a Mike’s Merchandise franchise in Pelham in 2018, and along the way, he came up with the Crazy Cazboy’s concept. “I was motivated like I was when I was doing Zoe’s,” Cassimus says. “I was super-inspired. I built it with a bunch of young people who came to work with me. It’s just taken off, and we have a great team.”
Cassimus opened the first Crazy Cazboy’s in Homewood, and there are currently stores in Hoover; Pensacola, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina, and Guntersville. Jones is a partner in Crazy Cazboy’s in Guntersville, and Cassimus calls him a “great mentor.”
“We do everything from top to bottom in the liquidation world,” Cassimus explains. “We buy a lot of products, liquidate for a lot of people, bring it all into a central warehouse, and then we’re the final sale on that item. We’re a one-stop shop, and that gives us a competitive advantage.”
Part of Crazy Cazboy’s business model is that it’s membership only. To buy something, you must have a membership ($5 a day or $15 a year) and have an app on your phone, which opens up even more opportunities for sales.
“Already, a quarter of a million users are on our app, and that allows us to drive our customers to our website to purchase products there,” Cassimus says. “We’ve been able to grow our own direct-to-consumer website, which is difficult in this day and age.
“I knew there was a tremendous amount of opportunity in this industry,” Cassimus adds. “We’re closing in on 100,000 members with five stores.”
NOW HE’S COOKING
As if Crazy Cazboy’s isn’t enough, Cassimus is now star of an online cooking series called “Darn Hungry.” He’s doing it in partnership with SpyPoint Cameras, which are big in the hunting world.
“I’m a bowhunter and heavily involved in the hunting industry, and I was at a trade show last year and met a guy with this camera company,” Cassimus says. “He contacted me this fall and said they were looking to film a cooking series and asked if I’d be interested in doing it.”
Cassimus said yes, and he’s filmed 12 episodes. They’ll be released monthly this year at SpyPoint.com. On the episodes, Cassimus will tackle homemade corndogs, homemade chicken soup, baked Greek chicken and the famed Zoe’s chicken roll-up (which he created for the restaurant), among other recipes.
“I really like to cook, and I think I’m natural at cooking,” he says. “I like to cook simple things that taste great. They wanted recipes that anybody could go and create.”
Cassimus says he’s always had a love for food and a knack for it.
“I look at it like people who can paint and people who can just sit down and play music,” he says. “I don’t have that in me, but I have certain design things I’m good at, and I’m good with food.”
He’s also pretty good with business, and he’s really not the retiring type. He’s probably not finished, yet.
“My whole thing in life is when I realize there’s an opportunity that fills a void that I can relate to, I feel like there’s a viable opportunity for a business,” he says. “That’s kind of my thing.”