Houston businessman and philanthropist Robert Jimenez had a knack for spotting problems and identifying solutions. His passion was fueled by the need to provide for his family and community.
Robert (Bobby) Jimenez was born August 31, 1962 in Houston, Texas to Gustavo Jimenez and Josephine Cano. Robert was united in marriage to his soulmate, Mely Jimenez, on July 23, 1984. They were blessed with two children, Priscilla DeMaris and Christopher Robert. His love of family was first and foremost and he was a devoted father and husband.
Robert attended school at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Houston’s Second Ward. He graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1980. He attended Rice University for Executive Education.
Although a public figure in Houston, Robert was a very private person. Some may be surprised to know that growing up he wanted to be a priest. He made a perfect score on his SAT and was accepted into Harvard University.
Before leaving for college, his father started his battle with cancer so Robert stayed in Houston to help run the family business, Best Cleaners. Best Cleaners was a dry cleaning company with two locations and the contract for the Houston Police Department. This turn of events, is actually what led him to meet the true love of his life. Robert and Mely met when she started a summer job at ‘the cleaners”.
Theirs is a love story like no other, that words cannot begin to describe; it is the stuff movies are made of. After going out for lunch once, Robert knew they would marry. He continued to woo her every day for the rest of his life. They not only loved each other but were in love with each other. Flowers, presents, poems was a part of their daily life.
For almost 40 years, Robert has built a reputation for being passionately committed to serving his customers and business partners by doing whatever is needed to get the job done. Along his path to success, Robert gained a reputation for being direct, honest, and trust worthy. His perseverance, hard work, and tireless dedication are the foundation for his success. He was quoted as saying, “I am passionate about what I do. I think that passion gives me a competitive edge because it inspires me to give it my all.”
He began his career in the office supply industry in 1985 as warehouse stocker for Tejas Office Products. He was promoted to Warehouse Supervisor within a year and was then promoted through the ranks and named Warehouse and Purchasing Manager. In 1995, Robert joined Thrifty Office Supply as General Manager in Oklahoma City. Over the next decade, he served as Thrifty’s Vice President as they grew into 5 states and nationwide delivery.
In 2003, he founded Today’s Business Solutions as a solution to the OfficeMax and State of Texas HUB initiative. His first location was in the attic of his sister’s apartment. From there TBS doubled to 300 square feet when he opened up his first storefront with his brother Philip in the Heights. When TBS outgrew that location he was so proud to be back in the Sivrag Building with his friend Janice Jamail where TBS remained for over 10 years. In 2014, his dream came true when he purchased his own building in Old Sixth Ward right across the street!
Robert was a member of many organizations and mentored many small and minority owned businesses. He credits Mr. Richard Huebner and the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council with guiding him when establishing Today’s Business Solutions. He served on the Board of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and was the President of the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City.
During his career, he impacted many lives and he endeavored to bring value to the supply chain. Working closely with Priscilla, he would tell her, “Our job is to make our friends look good.” He worked so hard behind the scenes to make the process look seamless to the customers he considered friends. He wanted them to shine at their organizations for bringing better service and value by choosing Today’s Business Solutions. He had a rare gift of being collected at all times while being outspoken and quite comfortable to speak his mind. He was loved by many and probably tolerated by a few. He took it all in stride.
Robert enjoyed many friends and he was a very caring person with a strong desire to help others. His love for helping others achieve their goals personally and professionally was his mission. As a philanthropist, and mentor he donated to practically every organization that asked. Too numerous to name, but including many focused on cancer research and education. Some organizations include the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art Project, MECA, and St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital to name a few. His children have established the RJMJ Foundation in his name to continue his mission.
Most of his life, he did not have hobbies. No golf, no tennis, no fishing. Work was what he loved to do. When the kids turned 14, they had to start working too. He would work longer hours and on weekends so Priscilla and Chris could work with him part time. He changed completely when his grandchildren were born. They were the focus of everything! All of a sudden vacations were mandatory so they could learn, explore, and be exposed to new things. He was a car collector with the 1957 Chevy Bel Air as his prized possession. The girls got poodle skirts to match. He purchased “The Nest” in Round Top, Texas as a family retreat where he could raise Hereford cattle.
He loved celebrating La Virgen de Guadalupe Day with all his aunts every December 12th. His Christmas cookies were legendary. His perfection of his mother’s recipe was requested without fail and he always found the time to make hundreds of them. His children are looking for the location of the secret recipe to this day.
He was preceded by his Father: Gustavo Jimenez, Sr. He is survived by his loving and devoted Wife: Mely; his Daughter: Priscilla Wood and husband Adam; his Son: Christopher and wife, Katy; his Granddaughters: Lauren and Ella; his Grandson: Marshall; his loyal companion: Benz, who never left his side; his Mother: Josephine Cano Jimenez; his Brothers: Gustavo Jimenez, Jr. (Alma), and Philip Jimenez; his Sisters: Martha Gonzalez, Carmen Bello (Efrain), Sylvia Castillo (Robert), Monica Velasquez (Simon), and Sofia Longoria; along with his numerous in-laws and extended family.
There are many reasons why Robert will be missed greatly. Through his children and grandchildren, his legacy will continue.