As a highly successful businessman in Ada, George Rhodes stressed the importance of developing relationships as he spoke to college and high school students at East Central University’s Annual Leonard Limes Lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Rhodes was also presented with ECU’s 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
“My father-in-law set an example about being faithful, hard-working and determined,” said Rhodes, who graduated from ECU in 1972 with a degree in education and married his wife Karen Rhynes in 1972. Karen had also achieved a nursing degree from ECU that same year.
Kenneth Rhynes encouraged his son-in-law along with his own sons Gary and Keith Rhynes to open Rhynes and Rhodes Furniture in late January of 1974 at 303 West Main in Ada. The business opened with a 5,600-square foot showroom and an inventory of $2,600 of used furniture and miscellaneous items purchased at a local auction.
The business evolved over the next 14 years into a full-service operation featuring all-new furniture, bedding and accessories. Rhynes and Rhodes then opened a second location in Durant in 1988 and a third location was eventually opened in Ardmore in 1992.
At one time and in the era of gallery-type showrooms, Rhynes and Rhodes was the only operation nationwide to have three Kincaid “solid wood” galleries.
Rhodes retired from the business in April after managing day-to-day operations of the Ada store for 44 years. His co-partner Keith retired in 2015. In 2016, George’s son Scott came aboard after a successful stint as an oil and gas consultant and the pair opened the Rhynes and Rhodes Mattress Store at North Hills Centre in Ada.
Today, Ada’s downtown location covers over 20,000 square feet with three warehouse locations and approximately 25 employees. Scott Rhodes is now president of Rhynes and Rhodes Inc.
In addressing the ECU and high school students, Rhodes spoke about creating relationships.
“Life is about relationships. Wherever you go, try to create a relationship because it’s not about us it’s about others,” Rhodes said.
George and Karen attend and our active at Trinity Baptist Church in Ada. They also enjoy time with their grandchildren and often travel and play golf.
Limes, a geologist, attorney and entrepreneur from Konawa who lived in New Orleans, established the lectureship to emphasize entrepreneurism in 2000 with a $25,000 gift to the ECU Foundation Inc. He attended ECU for a year and a half in 1946-47 and then completed a degree in geology from the University of Oklahoma.
After he went to night school in New Orleans to earn a law degree, he and two partners formed a law firm for five years. He established an oil and gas exploration company and worked as an attorney specializing in oil- and gas-related legal matters.