Our customer-driven business model keeps us the largest and most respected name in our industry.
It all started with a wooden desk about 95 years ago...
Nu-Idea School Supply Company was founded in 1921 by Roy Tucker, a former school teacher. He began the company by making wooden school desks that sold for less than $3.00 apiece. The company sold thousands of these wooden desks and other complimentary items for classrooms in South Carolina and North Carolina.
In the early 1930's, the company shifted from manufacturing to distribution and became Nu-Idea School Supply Company, a total outfitter of school furnishings.
Nu-Idea was brought into the church market by school superintendents and principals who worked as pastors on the weekends to make additional income.
In 1988, the company was taken from four families to two families through stock purchases; keeping the company in the family was crucial.
Customers were demanding more services, and Nu-Idea responded by altering its market strategy. The company acts as an extension of the district staff for a large number of its customers. This is done in large part to willingness, along with resources, to take on most any request of its customers.
Cary Coker became a stockholder/owner at Nu-Idea and assumed a new role as VP of Sales.
2013 marked a historical milestone in company history. The untimely and unfortunate passing of longtime employee, pioneer of Nu-Idea's turn-key business model, company President and Owner, Steve Bond, brought about new but exciting change to the organization. Cary Coker became President, and Mike Sawyer rejoined the staff as VP of Sales and also became a stockholder/owner.
The company made large investments in adding sales staff to grow into new territories, hired an interior designer/project manager to support the sales staff, hired additional customer service representatives, and added many new and modern product lines as well as implemented new software to provide 3D HD color renderings for presentations.
Nu-Idea relocates to a newly renovated location at 710 South Guignard Drive in Sumter. The property itself provides ample space to expand the facility for growth. The building is very user friendly and includes more space for inventory, an additional loading dock, and a 6,000 square foot showroom. The spacious showroom is a great resource for customers to visit and see the most modern and cutting edge K-12 school, church, and office furniture that the market has to offer. The new move allows Nu-Idea the ability to provide customers with a higher level of service and a better purchasing experience.
As Nu-Idea approaches its 100 year anniversary, the company is positioned as a market leader in providing its customers with the best turn-key solution for their furniture needs.
We have just completed an intense 3-year construction phase in our District, completing six new schools. Nu-Idea played a key role in the success of our construction projects, providing furniture for all of the schools. Their attention to detail and their responsiveness to our needs enabled us to complete all projects on time and under budget. Nu-Idea worked closely with our staff to help select furniture that is attractive, functional, and constructed to standards that will serve our District for years into the future.
Chris Poe, PE Facilities Planning and Construction Officer, Beaufort County School District
I wanted to thank you and the entire Nu-Idea team for your expertise, compassion, and understanding of the building process. You and your team were able to help us furnish our brand new state of art facility and made what was an incredibly overwhelming task manageable. There are so many things you and the team made possible for us, like bringing chairs for us to sit in to "test," setting up a timeline for us to follow, responsive to our every need, and price competitive. It is our absolute pleasure to endorse you and the Nu-Idea team. We would happily want to share our stories and let others look at all of our fabulous classroom furniture, rugs, office furniture, etc.
Jody Cohen Addlestone Hebrew Academy, Charleston, SC
Dorchester School District Two has been doing business with Nu-Idea for many years. Their great customer service, quality products, and competitive pricing keep us coming back year after year. Nu-Idea has been a vendor that Dorchester Two has grown to depend on time and time again for small projects to large construction projects. Their staff is highly skilled, organized, and very knowledgeable on the products that will work best for each project. Nu-Idea has always been able to address our needs to include warehousing standard classroom furniture in an effort to expedite delivery when a need arises. Nu-Idea knows schools, and we are lucky to have them as one of our business partners!
Rhonda Grice Procurement Officer, Dorchester School District Two
Nu-Idea’s credibility is built on taking care of its customers, from the first meeting to the final walk-through.
Cary graduated from Francis Marion University in May of 1996 and went to work for Nu-Idea in June. He began his career working in the warehouse/operation side of the business.
In the late fall of 1996, Cary became a sales representative for the company. His territory included managing accounts in the school and commercial markets. School district work was comprised of day to day transactional business as well as providing a turn-key solution for multi district/multi building programs. His commercial market experience includes outfitting banks, the healthcare industry, car dealerships, and most recently, a large judicial center.
In 2005 Cary became an owner at Nu-Idea and assumed the role of Vice President of Sales until becoming President and a majority owner in 2013. Under Cary’s leadership the company has expanded its presence in the Georgia and Alabama customer markets and has added more resources in product lines, sales staff, project management, interior design service, business and space planning software as well as delivery trucks.
On a personal note, Cary was born and resides in Sumter, SC, where Nu-Idea's corporate headquarters are located. He and his wife Natalie were married in 1998 and have four daughters: Gracyn, Anna Kate, Ellis, and Riley. They are members of First Presbyterian Church where Cary has served as Deacon and on various other committees. Cary’s civic work includes being a member of the Sumter Sertoma Club Organization where he held the office of Treasurer. He was also a member of the Small Business Committee under the local Chamber of Commerce.
Mike comes to Nu-Idea with 30+ years of experience in the school furniture industry. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1980 with a degree in Business Management.
Shortly after graduation, he started with Nu-Idea as a Sales Representative for South Carolina. After a little over a year in the field, Mike accepted a position with Beckley-Cardy, now School Specialty, as a sales representative for South and North Carolina. After a brief time as a Sales Representative, he was transferred to their corporate office in Ohio. Mike moved back to Columbia, SC, in 1996 as the Director of Furniture and Equipment for the Southeastern United States and International. As Director of Furniture and Equipment, Mike had responsibility for new school construction projects, major renovation and large furniture bids in the states of SC, NC, FL, GA, MS, CA, AL, AR, TN, TX, KY, VA, WV, and MD. He has also been involved in large, new school projects in Bermuda, Guam, Morocco, and Trinidad.
Julie joined the Nu-Idea family in March of 2015. She brings with her 25 years of experience in interior design, project management, a knowledge of construction and commercial development. Her responsibilities with Nu-Idea are to generate 2D layouts, 3D renderings, presentation boards, and assists all the Nu-Idea Sales Reps.
Julie graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a minor in Art History in December of 1990. She was hired as an Interior Designer at GMK Associates of Columbia, SC in February of 1991. There they specialized in turn-key projects within the healthcare and educational industry. After installing and completing her first educational project, Julie went into the public sector and was hired as a Planner at the Sumter City-County Planning Department in 1993. She enjoyed learning the development process, community planning, and finding solutions for applicants which lead her to start a consulting business, JWC Design Consultants, in 1996. She would assist architects, engineers, developers, business owners, and home owners through the permit and land use approval process (98% approval rate), construction observation, along with developing house plans and site layouts. After 10 years of being self-employed, Julie joined the City of Sumter team as the Commercial Development Coordinator. She was the point of contact for city commercial applicants and assisted the applicants along with the city departments during the application review process thru to the completion of construction. Her job also included managing Quality of Life projects for the City of Sumter and Penny For Progress projects.
On a personal note, Julie was born in England but was raised and is currently residing in Sumter. She married her husband, Robby, in 1992. They have been blessed with 2 boys, Robert and Wylie, and several fur-babies. Julie loves spending time with her family and friends, enjoys the outdoors, and watching her Carolina Gamecocks. Julie and her family are active members of Christ Community Church. She has been a member of the Sumter County Gallery of Art Board, Sumter Downtown Design Committee, YWCA, and is an active sustaining member of the Sumter Junior Welfare League.
Jason has 18 years of furniture and equipment sales experience. Prior to his arrival at Nu-Idea, he was employed by School Specialty as Projects by Design Coordinator. Responsibilities included lead follow-up, concept presentation, product presentation, budget analysis, pricing, project management coordinator, and customer satisfaction.
Before becoming a Project by Design Coordinator, he held the title of Project by Design Sales Specialist. Responsibilities included proofing orders, registering vendors, obtaining/writing specification from/for vendors, updating products in the system, and preparing formal proposals.
Ross currently lives in Charlotte, NC, and has been a Sales Manager with Nu-Idea since May 2016. Prior to joining Nu-Idea, he worked as a sales representative in the IT industry.
Ross grew up in Columbia, SC, and graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007 and then attended the University of South Carolina. He graduated from USC in 2011 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business. After working in sales for RNDC of South Carolina, Ross moved to Nashville to take a Sales Manager position with Vita Coco Coconut Water. In the fall of 2014, Ross moved to Charlotte to accept an Account Manager position with VeriStor Systems, Inc. selling integrated IT solutions. In addition to these roles, Ross assembled and installed furniture at several schools while working on an installation crew for Institutional Furniture Concepts in high school and college.
Thomas came to Nu-Idea in the summer of 2016 and began working as a Sales Representative.
A native of Sumter, Thomas is working out of our corporate office in downtown Sumter, SC. His territory includes Sumter and the eastern portion of South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in May of 2013 with a degree in Business Management. Prior to working at Nu-Idea, Thomas was F&I Manager at Jones Buick GMC.
Curt resides in Manning, SC. He is married and blessed with two energetic little boys. He is a graduate of USC with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and has been with Nu-Idea for 16 years.
Curt is currently serving as Operations Manager & Church Sales manager. His responsibilities as Operations Manager include the management of employees, shipping, receiving and warehousing of inventory, fleet management, scheduling, installation and project management. As Church Sales Manager, his responsibilities include customer service, daily sales, project consulting, project & custom product design, presentations, budget analysis and project management.
Dee was born and currently resides in Sumter, SC. She graduated from Thomas Sumter Academy in 1980 and received her Associates degree from Central Carolina in Administrative Office Technology in 1983. She is married to Richard Minton and they have two children, Lauren and Preston.
Dee started working at a local furniture manufacturer, Sumter Cabinet Furniture Company (also known as Korn Industries) in 1987. She worked as customer service support to the organization by obtaining, analyzing and verifying the accuracy of order information in a timely manner. She also prepared customer service reports and coordinated the handling of difficult and/or unusual situations. In 1992, Dee became Office Manager/Sales Manager. She participated and provided expertise to the customer service team and the development of specific target markets and product for the marketing plan. She also provided the sales team with information related to meeting their sales goals and timetables. In 2007, the company closed doors due to the economy and the steady fight against imports in the furniture industry.
Dee started at Nu-Idea School Supply in 2007 as Office Manager/Administrative Assistant. She performs a wide range of administrative and office support activities for the department, managers and supervisors to facilitate the efficient operation of the organization. She is also called upon to assist with special projects. Dee oversees all aspects of customer service, order entry, purchasing, and accounts receivable and payable. She also prepares all bookkeeping and accounting financial reports and month end duties as required.
Kathie was born in Greenville, SC, and currently lives in Sumter, SC. She graduated from Sumter High School in 1976 and is happily married to Kenny Creel.
Kathie began working at Nu-Idea in 2014, following a 32-year career at NBSC. She is a member of Crosswell Baptist Church, where she sings in the choir and pitches for the church softball team.
She enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the local soup kitchen and has participated for several years in both the March of Dimes Walk-A-Thon and the Heart Walk for Cancer.
Originally from Gujarat, India, Jitendraprasad Narmadashanker Jagnnath Davé was born in Malawi. He went to boarding school in Switzerland, did all his schooling there (Languages), and lived and worked in Europe and Middle East and East Africa. He also worked with the French Embassy in the Cultural Department as Translator and Activity Coordinator.
Jit then moved to the U.S. and worked with NBSC in the Customer Service and Loans Departments. He participated in various Business Expo’s for the bank, organized and participated in Career Fair Expos and the Community Circle at local schools. He also taught Credit Worthiness classes at area high schools. He is now retired from NBSC.
Jit is married with two children. His son, Jivan, is an art director for a graphic design company in Greenville, SC. He has one grandson, Anders Coen. His daughter, Noëlle, is a sophomore majoring in Dance Performance and Business at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.
Keith Doonan grew up in Virginia Beach and graduated from Virginia Tech with BS in Business Management. Keith has over 25 years' experience in furniture sales.
Keith joined the Nu-Idea sales team in January 2018 and his territory includes the state of Georgia. Prior to his employment with Nu-Idea, Keith worked with Garco and Simple Contracting Solutions with a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities included sales and sales management, product presentation, budget analysis, design, pricing, and order accuracy. Other responsibilities included project scheduling, project coordination, vendor negotiations, logistic coordination, installation, customer satisfaction and follow up.
Keith's experience and knowledge helps make the process efficient when working with clients on any projects and furniture needs.
In July 2017, Everett Fenno joined the Nu-Idea team as an intern from the University of South Carolina. Everett graduated in May 2018 with her Bachelor of Arts. Everett’s responsibilities consist of 2D layouts, 3D renderings and color boards, as well as maintaining the company’s social media accounts. Everett’s employment with Nu-Idea fulfills a lifelong desire to work in the interior design indus-try and she is a valued addition to the team.
Everett is a Sumter native whose family has owned and operated a local business for over 100 years. Everett and her husband Adam were married in 2017 and enjoy spending time with friends, family, and their puppy, Jack.