Following a 40-year retail career – more than half of it spent working with independent buying groups – Jerry Honea, senior vice president of furniture and bedding for Nationwide Marketing Group, announced today his retirement, effective February 28, 2020.
“Jerry is a furniture and bedding icon whose vision and leadership have transformed the buying group industry as we know it,” says Tom Hickman, Nationwide’s president and chief member advocate. “While he is probably best known for helping MEGA Group USA grow from a handful of members to one of the nation’s largest buying groups for independent retailers, that is just one of Jerry’s many accomplishments. He also helped develop the channel’s first private-label brands with key bedding vendors and created the first buying group program for Tempur-Pedic mattresses. His passion, integrity and support are without equal, and he will be deeply missed.”
After graduating from Harding University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, Honea spent seven years working for an independent furniture retailer in Conway, Arkansas, managing the store’s buying and merchandising programs. Later, he worked for Ethan Allen and then Dillard’s, where he first oversaw the furniture and bedding departments for 27 retail locations and later served as store manager for the Memphis, Tennessee, location.
In 1998, Honea joined MEGA as the director of furniture and mattress, and was named chief operating officer / executive vice president in 2008. Following the MEGA-Nationwide merger in 2017, Honea was tapped to lead the combined furniture and bedding division, which today serves more than 3,300 retailers with over 7,600 locations.
“I have always enjoyed what I do because I believe it makes a real difference in the lives of families who own or work in small retail stores,” Honea says. “Helping others by bringing them more benefits and competitive advantages so that they can survive in the marketplace – that’s a wonderful vocation to have. And helping to build and grow first MEGA and then Nationwide – I take a lot of pride in that.
“But, as much as I love what I do, now is the time for me to step back so that I can spend more time with my family, especially my father and my wife’s parents, who are in declining health,” Honea continues. “I will always be grateful for the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made within the furniture and bedding industry, at MEGA and at Nationwide. They are the best people to work with, and I appreciate them all.”