The impressive leadership at the Greater Memphis Chamber coaxed Robert Berry and Lucy Woodson to be a part of the Chairman’s Circle. The pair, founding business partners at the furnishings and interiors company Worlds Away LLC, were impressed by people like the late Phil Trenary and by Chamber Chairman Richard Smith. However, it was a visit by Philip Spinosa, who came on as senior vice president of the Chairman’s Circle in the spring of 2018, that prompted Berry and Woodson to sign on for greater involvement in Circle strategies launched to better Memphis.
Berry and Woodson founded Worlds Away in 1992. The company operates a “seconds warehouse” across from the Liberty Bowl, but most of its products are purchased off site and shipped to customers. Worlds Away boasts a worldwide reach, offering pieces that can relate to today’s tastes but still hint at the past.
As a native Memphian, Woodson wanted to remain in the city, plus, it’s “a great place to hire people. I’ve personally found very wonderful employees,” she said. While good talent is a reason for Berry to do business in Memphis, the city’s “spirit of innovation” is, too, evident in the number of small, entrepreneurial businesses across the city. “And for our industry, it makes sense, due to its geographic location for receiving and distribution,” he said.
Berry and Woodson both enjoy playing tennis and charity work. Woodson, widow of the late Ben Woodson, one of the founders of Overton Square, is a “big Carnival supporter.” While not a member of a crew, she decorates for events and meets representatives of charities that function across the Mid-South.
“We give back to the community,” she said. “It’s a wonderful, civic thing.”