W. Allan Jones
W. Allan Jones founded Check Into Cash in 1993 and grew it into a billion-dollar-a-year enterprise. For nearly 25 years, before starting Check Into Cash, he expanded his family’s Credit Bureau business before selling it in 1998. Mr. Jones came into his father’s business at the age of 20 while a student at Middle Tennessee State University. He worked six-day work weeks and long hours to learn and grow the business started by his father, W.A. (Bill) Jones, Jr. Eventually, Credit Bureau Services of Cleveland grew to include nearly a dozen offices from Atlanta to Memphis. It was the largest credit collection agency in the state of Tennessee when the sale took place.
On a trip to the Tri-Cities area of northeast Tennessee to see about one of his credit bureau offices, Mr. Jones discovered a business that piqued his interest. A former Credit Bureau owner had opened a check cashing business in Johnson City. Mr. Jones decided he, too would get into the same type enterprise. In 1993, he began Check Into Cash, which made “payday” loans to walk-in customers. The loans terms were up to two weeks on $200 checks for fees ranging from $15 to $18. The business proved popular with customers and profitable for Mr. Jones, whose company had more than 700 Check Into Cash stores by late 2002.
Mr. Jones is chairman of Jones Management Services, the management firm for Check Into Cash and Jones Properties, LLC, which owns numerous historical buildings in downtown Cleveland. Mr. Jones was instrumental in helping restore the city’s downtown business district and relining city street with trees for aesthetic appeal and environmental stewardship.
An avid collegiate wrestling enthusiast, Mr. Jones founded and financed the first Cleveland-Bradley Wrestling club. His philanthropy includes giving to UT athletics, money to UTC’s wrestling program, and causes and institutions in his hometown of Cleveland. In 2002, he built the Jones Wrestling Center on the campus of his alma mater, Cleveland High School. He named the arena after his Dad, the late Bill Jones. He also joined another Cleveland businessman in providing a portion of the money to help Bradley Central High School built their center. Also, he serves on a number of community boards and was given Cleveland’s highest award, the M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award given by the Chamber of Commerce.