Ricky Dean Brooks, Innovator, Educator, Mentor, and Motivator are all words that come to mind when sewing industry leaders speak of Ricky.
Ricky was born in Corinth, MS, June 17, 1953. He was born the baby of 13 siblings, one of which would introduce him to the sewing industry just 23 years later and his love of the industry would make it a lifetime career that has now spanned over 36 years and counting.
Ricky attended college in Memphis, TN, and graduated with a BA in Theology. After college he worked in the mission fields of Iran, Ceylon, and India. During his brief work as a minister in Northeast MS, his brother Rudy L. Brooks would take him along on his weekly trips to nearby Sewing Machine Set-ins and the seeds of entrepreneurship in the sewing industry were planted.
At the age of 24 Ricky moved to Dyersburg, TN, to open his own New Home Sewing Machine Business and in just a few years he owned and operated multiple outlets selling multiple sewing machine brands in Tennessee and Arkansas. In 1980 Ricky moved to Jonesboro, AR, where he would meet his wife now of 24 years, Pamela Kay. While in Jonesboro, he convinced the Singer Company to allow him to use the National Distribution Warehouse as the location for a Singer Factory Warehouse Sale and the event was so successful it became an annual event as long as the facility was open. In fact, this promotion was duplicated in major metros nationwide.
In 1989, Ricky and Kay moved to Knoxville, TN, and opened what would become one the largest volume single location sewing machines sales and service retail stores in the world. They employed over 30 people in the one store with 12 as full time educators conducting classes daily. Twelve years later, they sold the store and retired, for six weeks!
Due to the tremendously successful educational sales events, Ricky was asked to become a consultant for a major sewing machine manufacturer. For the next five years he traveled coast to coast conducting events and helping his former fellow dealers learn how he had been so successful in the industry where he had devoted most of his life.
And it didn't end there. In 2004 Ricky and Kay founded yet another company in this great industry named RNK Distributing. The goal was to supply former fellow sewing machine dealers with exclusive high quality products that consumers would love and guarantee his dealers the profit margin they deserved and that he would love to have had as a dealer. Kay began creating and Ricky started marketing.
The first thing they did was hire the best educators they could find and train them explicitly. Ricky wanted to build RNK the same way he had built his retail business, with service and education. Today, RNK Distributing is recognized as an independent retailer's source for quality products that are guaranteed to make a profit. After taking RNK global in 2006, Ricky began looking for a buyer that would take RNK to the next level and the following year was introduced to the Wallach Family from New York. The Wallach's have been involved in the craft industry for generations and really liked Ricky and Kay's model for the independent retailers. Since the Wallach's purchased RNK in 2007 the company has tripled in size and Ricky and Kay serving as general managers say there is no ceiling in sight!
2013 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee