News + Events

"Mr. Henco" to Speak to FHU Business Students

Henderson, Tenn. - Apr 09, 2015

Tom Hendrix, long-time entrepreneur sometimes referred to as “Mr. Henco,” will speak to Freed-Hardeman business students in the Brown-Kopel Business Center Tuesday, April 14, at 9:00am.

Hendrix left his family’s McNairy County farm and entered the Army before his high school graduation. Following a stint in the military, he entered the University of Tennessee at Martin because of the encouragement of a friend. Hendrix sold Bibles door to door in order to pay for college. He sold under the direction of Dortch Oldham, a Nashville businessman, who taught him how to be a salesman.

His first successful business, NASCO, sold stools via school fundraising efforts. Following that, he and his wife Sherry launched Henco with a $3,000 loan. The company provided products to groups to assist them in fundraising. At the height of the company’s success, 1,000 employees were on the payroll. The company eventually went bankrupt, Hendrix said, because cheap imports overshadowed his products.

The Hendrixes opened Henco Furniture in Selmer in 1996 and operated it for 17 years. He was frequently seen on television ads assuring potential customers a trip to the store was “worth the drive.”  The phrase became the title of his autobiography written after he closed the furniture store.

Hendrix said his employees were never just hired labor. He wanted them to have a positive mindset, to pursue their goals and to establish healthy lifestyles. He hopes his story will encourage others to develop their own potential.