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Clint Engel

Tennessee's Henco Furniture to close as owner retires

SELMER, Tenn. — Henco Furniture will close its sprawling, two-acre showroom here after a going-out-of-business sale, as owner Tom Hendrix has decided to retire and write a book.

The sale at the more than 200,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse began Wednesday and is being handled by Planned Furniture Promotions. Neither PFP nor Henco disclosed how long the sale is expected to run or how much money it's expected to generate.

Located about 80 minutes east of Memphis, Henco was founded by 65-year-old entrepreneur Hendrix in 1996 as a "retirement project," according to a release.

PFP called the store environment, "a Disney-like shopping experience," and said shoppers walk down a replica of a west Tennessee Main Street with storefronts that lead to various merchandising areas.

A 2004 story in Furniture/Today highlighted the retailer's Main Street transformation and noted that with the changes, Henco was expecting annual sales of about $12 million. The store draws customer from six states.

The recession cut sales roughly in half, Hendrix said.

"It's been tough for furniture stores, and this recession has lasted forever," he said. "And when we look forward, I don't see a lot of hope as far as the economy turning around."

Hendrix, who turns 81 in April, said he is retiring to spend time with his family and write his biography, "Live Your Dream." He said he figures it will take a couple of years to write and revise before it goes to print.

"I want my book to encourage people to live their dream and live it with a passion," he said. "I think we need more dreamers and more people who say, ‘Hey, this is something I want to give my life to."

Hendrix said the store has been rewarding and "tremendous fun" for him and his wife. "We've had the opportunity to serve tens of thousands of customers," he said.

He added later that it breaks his heart to close as the store, as it has become the "hang out place" for customers, area civic clubs, church groups and others, but, "It's time to turn the page, write my book and play with my grandkids."

Henco's 300,000-square-foot corporate campus, including an on-site restaurant, also is up for sale.

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