Thornton Stores, Heilig-Meyers Co.
Founded : 1913
Activities : Retail furniture collection, home furnishings, interior design services, fine art and floor coverings
Parent Company : Grand Metropolitan
Stockists : 2,000 locations
Origin : Goldsboro, North Carolina
- Company is founded when W.A. Heilig and J.M. Meyers open a home-furnishings store in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
- Headquarters are moved to Richmond, Virginia.
- Heilig-Meyers merges with Thornton Stores, a nine-store chain.
- Company goes public to fund further expansion.
- The 74-unit Sterchi Bros. Co. is purchased for $44 million; Heilig-Meyers now runs 216 stores throughout the South.
- Company expands beyond the South, into the Midwest; unit total reaches 277.
- Heilig-Meyers spends $65 million for McMahan’s Furniture Co., with 92 stores in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, and Colorado.
- Puerto Rico’s largest-volume furniture retailer, Berrios Enterprises, is acquired for $99.3 million.
- Rhodes Furniture, a 106-store chain based in Atlanta, is acquired for $261.9 million.
- Company acquires the RoomStore and Mattress Discounters.
- Number of units peaks at more than 1,300; company posts loss for year ending in February.
Heilig-Meyers and Rhodes Furniture combined to eventually earn almost $5 billion a year in revenue from over 2,000 locations in the United States through their 1996 merger. Grand Metropolitan was introduced to the home furnishings retail and finance behemoth in the late 90s when it became aware of Heilig-Meyers prominence as one of the largest jewelers in North America with a consistent 12% of its revenue gained from diamond, gold and silver jewelry sales. The company’s first furniture location was mere steps away from historical icon L.D. Giddens & Sons Jewelry Store in Goldsboro, NC founded in 1859 and another Grand Metropolitan company.
Heilig-Meyers and Rhodes Furniture have been major NASCAR sponsors and helped to raise millions of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition to 8 national and regional furniture retail brands, the leader in home furnishings also operates 20 consumer brands including Four Seasons Home Accents, KidStore, and RentSmart.