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Rex Henderson, director of floral for Lubbock, Texas-based United Supermarkets, has retired after more than two decades of service.
“It’s just been a wonderful honor being part of this company,” Henderson said during a recent retirement ceremony hosted by United. “It’s truly amazing how much our company has grown in the last 20 years. It’s just been phenomenal to see it and to be a part of it.”
Henderson, who grew up as part of a family floral business, started virtually from scratch when he arrived at United’s floral department. “When he started, floral sales were just about zero,” said CMO Wes Jackson. “Rex has built the floral department into a multimillion dollar business, and a business where we now do over $1 million just for Valentine’s Day.”
Henderson said it was important to him that United maintain the values of a family florist within the walls of a family-owned retail grocer. It was new territory for United in the early 1990s, but with more than 30 years in the floral industry already on his resume, Henderson brought vision, people skills and commitment to his new position.
It was his leadership, Jackson explained, that guided the development of what he called an unrivaled floral department.
“He built the team and the infrastructure to grow from zero dollars with no systems and no processes to a best-in-class floral department,” Jackson said. “The business grew rapidly from the day one, to having floral in 21 [out of 52] stores today. We now sell lots of flowers through our stores, and he has put a team in place to continue and to build on to his legacy, and I know we here at United have a world of confidence in the team he’s put in place to carry on.”
Bradley Gaines, a longtime member of the floral team, replaces Henderson as director of floral. Gaines, who will celebrate 22 years with United on July 4, has worked his way up through the company, most recently serving as regional floral supervisor since 1998.
United Supermarkets operates 52 stores under four distinct formats: United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos and United Express.