Finding valuable items in unlikely places has been in Justin Grimes’ DNA for years.
Justin, who currently lives in Plano with his wife, Jeana, and their children, is known for his popular YouTube channel, Grimes Finds, which has more than 86,000 subscribers and features finds from abandoned storage units, thrift stores or estate sales.
“We were always in thrift stores with my mom,” he says. “She’d always be in there trying to find things worth money to sell. It stuck with me.”
Even during his eight years working as a data analyst at Motel 6’s corporate office, Justin would spend lunch breaks at secondhand shops like Goodwill searching for his latest find.
Eight years ago, he and Jeana were married. Later, they quit their jobs in corporate America to start an auction business where they would purchase estates, large collections or items from abandoned storage units, and resell those items.
“That was always the plan when we got married,” Justin said. “We didn’t want to be caught up in the rat race, go to work for eight hours, factor in an hour or two driving home, then see each other for an hour or two before we go to sleep, and do it again.
“At the beginning of our marriage, we said we were going to create something to be able to work together every day because we enjoy it. We took something I happened to be good at, hustling and flipping stuff.”
Justin says reselling has been in his blood since an early age, in part due to all those early shopping trips with mom. However, he also finds himself using skills from his former gig, like putting together and analyzing spreadsheets.
But his current job is much different than his days spent as a data analyst, thanks to the thrill of the hunt and never knowing exactly what he and Jeana might stumble upon in a collection.
“It’s new every day. You don’t know what you’re going to find,” he says. “It’s exciting that you don’t have the same redundant day.
“I’ve never lost money on a storage unit. There’ve been units where I’ve only spent $1,000 or less and turned it into $5,000 or $10,000 in a week or so. It’s fast money, but the thrill is the chance you could literally find a million-dollar unit.”
However, the Grimes have also dealt with some adversity. Last March, a three-alarm fire burned their 14,000-square-foot auction house in Garland to the ground, and they lost everything.
They’re still looking to rebuild but have since relocated the auction to their home’s garage, and have kept their employees on the payroll through the pandemic.
Justin spent his formative years in Duncanville and Oak Cliff before moving to Garland at age 14. After graduating from Garland Lakeview Centennial High School, he joined the United States Marines Corps and ended up returning to DFW once his service was complete.
And like many who make their living “antiquing” or looking for valuable items in unexpected places, there are certain finds which pique his interest more than others.
“I like vintage toys. They’re not the most valuable, but I geek out when I find ‘80s and ‘90s toys, nostalgic stuff,” he says. “Nowadays, even the clothing from the ‘90s, you can find t-shirts that are going for a couple of hundred bucks, old Polo shirts from the ‘90s. A lot of what we used to call antiques – that market has fallen out. The young generation doesn’t buy that stuff. But the stuff from the ‘80s and ‘90s, that’s the big money now.”
Anytime he and Jeana have a notable find, it’s a big deal. One recent lucrative haul was in a storage unit abandoned by a gentleman who left his stuff and moved to California. Justin spent $2,200 on the unit and found $4,000 worth of silver alone.
A year and a half ago, he started the Grimes Finds YouTube channel just to publicize the auction business. And in that short time, the channel has become an invaluable revenue stream.
“I never knew that it would become a big part of our income. We make a significant amount of money every month on the videos. I’ve learned a lot about YouTube,” he says.
“Hopefully, we’ll hit 100,000 subscribers in the next month. There’s a lot of do’s and don’ts. You just got to stay neutral. People want to be entertained, and they want to see what’s in the box. As long as we do that, we should never have a problem being monetized.”Grimes Finds >