Starting a Successful Re-Sale Furniture Business in Boquete

For 25 years Larry ran a successful antique shop in Houston, Texas. Like so many of us, there came the day when Larry woke up and realized it was time to slow down, retire, and smell the roses. “My partner and I both turned 65 and decided the timing was right to make a move; I had a buyer for my house and another for my antique shop. The planets had aligned; onward and upward.”

Larry and his partner, John, started their search for a retirement destination by visiting Costa Rica, Belize, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which were all beautiful but didn’t fully match their needs.

Eventually, they ended up in Boquete, Panama, and they were completely taken by the lush green landscape.

Larry did his homework and found that the micro-climate in Jaramillo Abajo—a division of Boquete district—and the stunning beauty of the mountains at that altitude suited him perfectly.

He is quick to admit that the more-than-affordable cost of living was one of the main factors in their choice. “I have a 20-year deferment on my real estate taxes, my water costs are as low as $17 per year, I have electricity charges of $100 a month—it was $400 in Texas—and my household help and gardeners ask for $20 per day, again a fraction of what I paid in Houston.”

He lives in an exquisite 8,000-square-foot home with all the amenities that he enjoyed in Texas.

Larry says he feels safe in Boquete, and appreciates the welcoming, receptive tenor of the community. “You just can’t beat the friendliness of the people; once here, you fit in automatically.” And the well-priced, local food makes meal times a pleasure—especially the spaghetti carbonara he discovered at El Sabrosón, his favorite place to eat.

Delighted with his choice of location, Larry passes this word of advice to prospective Boquetenos. “Come here and rent for six months to experience the seven various micro-climates before you make a decision to buy.” In the higher altitudes, known as arriba, the climate will be cooler, potentially rainier and windier, but you’ll also find the most stunning views. Bajo, the lower areas, will be hotter, but generally more convenient to the town and amenities.”

The plan was to move to Boquete and slow down, or retire entirely, but being a vibrant person who doesn’t tolerate idleness, Larry soon hatched plans to start a business. With his background in furniture sales, he naturally gravitated toward that field, but needed to tweak his game plan in order to match the needs of the community.

With so many retirees on fixed income, and with so many of these same customers coming and going—snowbirds and roving retirees—he realized he could enter the niche market of re-sale furniture and accessories at an affordable price.

Since he is also knowledgeable about real estate, an agency hired Larry to go into the houses they had listed on the market and stage them with his furniture, which is returned to his shop when the house is sold. With a great eye, and flawless taste, he eliminates pieces that create clutter or poor traffic patterns, replacing them with items from his shop that are properly scaled to the size of the room. “I am delighted with this arrangement as it is a win-win for everyone involved; I am helping agents sell the houses as well as introducing prospective clients to my shop.”

Always a hard worker, Larry is in his shop from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day except for Mondays, happily not retired and very committed.

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