Plainfield, Ill. — Longtime retailer, buying group executive and dealer advocate Ed Knodle succumbed last week to illness. He was 62.
Knodle spent his career as a CE/appliance dealer and advisor, having worked at Aronson’s, Standard TV & Appliance and the MARTA and Nationwide buying groups.
He also served as executive director of the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA), an educational and advocacy trade group for independent retailers.
Knodle was born into the business, starting out in the family CE dealership, Knodle’s Electric, in Sycamore, Ill.
He later went to work for the MARTA Cooperative of America, where he recruited new dealer members and provided training and in-store consultation for current ones.
In 1999 he joined Aronson Furniture in Chicago where he ran the appliance and electronics division, and later served as sales director for Standard TV & Appliance in Portland, Ore.
He would go on to lead NARDA as executive director, where he managed all operations, built programs and developed new industry partnerships.
Knodle most recently served as member development VP at the Nationwide Marketing Group, working with its management and field teams to recruit and retain members and address dealer needs.
During his tenure there he acted as point man for a retail SWAT team of sorts, swooping in and turning around failing dealerships by imposing basic business disciplines.
He also conducted seminars and conferences at Nationwide conventions and at the group’s PrimeMedia production facility in Atlanta.
Knodle attributed his success to “a sincere commitment to independent retailers and a passion for the industry.”
Nationwide co-CEO Robert Weisner said Knodle loved the group and his job, and that his friends and former colleagues there “all pray for his family.”
He is survived by Susan, his wife of 40 years, and two sons and a grandson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials for Knodle may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.