Daughter takes reins from Dad in Champaign store

Daughter takes reins from Dad in Champaign store

CHAMPAIGN -- Tonya Horn follows in the footsteps of her dad as she and Chad Hoffman take over Rogards Office Plus in downtown Champaign.

Her father, Terry Poindexter, co-owned Rogards with Jim Beyer for the past 13 years. But in recent years, they considered retiring and selling the office supply business.

They just didn't expect to sell it to Poindexter's daughter.

"A couple years ago, when she first approached me, I didn't take it seriously," Poindexter said. "When other inquiries (about buying the business) came in this summer, I shared that with her. She said, 'I'm really interested and someone else is interested in it too.' I told her, 'Let's see what you've got.' It's hard to say no to your daughter."

Horn and Hoffman have worked as marketing directors at Human Kinetics for several years, and Horn said the idea of owning her own business always appealed to her.

"When you're young, you don't think you want to do what your parents do that's not cool," Horn said. "But as I got older, I had an appreciation for what Dad did just an understanding that what he does helps other businesses to conduct their business."

It was something she wanted to do.

Horn and Hoffman, who acquired Rogards on Monday, said they don't plan to make many changes to the business at 214 S. Walnut St., C. They may make some minor changes to the website and create a social presence for it on Facebook.

"But in terms of customers, they're happy so far with what we're delivering, and we want to keep that consistent," she said.

Horn said she would like to grow the office-furniture side of the business so it accounts for 50 percent of the product mix, up from 30 percent now.

Rogards, which has been around for 50 years, employs 15 people.

Horn, the new president, said she'll be the main contact on furniture and concentrate on marketing, sales and human resources. Hoffman, the CEO, will be the principal contact for office supplies and concentrate on finance, accounting and operations.

Rogards gets its name from Robert Garrard, who operated Garrard Publishing in Champaign. Garrard's son-in-law, Bernie Dunn, eventually became involved in the businesses, and Poindexter went to work for Dunn at the publishing company in 1972.

When Garrard Publishing was sold in the early 1980s, Dunn asked Poindexter to take charge of the computer system at Rogards.

In the late 1990s, Dunn decided to sell Rogards and approached Poindexter. He, in turn, contacted Beyer, who worked for an office supply company in Peoria.

"We decided to buy the company. Both of us had experience in the industry," Poindexter said. "Jim took care of furniture, and I took care of the supply side of things."

Poindexter said he will continue to help out at the business "as long as they want me to." But he also looks forward to doing more gardening and landscaping. He and his wife also plan to spend more time with Horn's 9-month-old daughter.

Beyer intends to move to California, to be close to his son and grandchildren, once he sells his home in Urbana.

Coincidentally, Garrard Publishing was located where Human Kinetics is located today.

"It is so ironic," Poindexter said. "She (Tonya) was working for Human Kinetics, which is in the same building I was in when it was Garrard Publishing. She's followed me from there to here now."

Horn said she's not only following her father into his business, but "following him from publishing into office products, and literally from one building to another."

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