Alison Fosbenner, Lowe’s, Merchandising Manager

The July 17 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 18th annual Impact Merchants special report. Housewares suppliers, representing the categories that HomeWorld covers, once again were asked to nominate buyers and merchandisers believed to have made a significant impact during the past year.

The selection of the 20 Impact Merchant winners is not intended as a definitive list of the best merchants in housewares retailing. Votes went to several more merchandisers than those featured. This year’s honorees represent buyers in given categories that received the majority of votes by vendors polled.

Voters were asked to give added weight to merchandising creativity, trend and marketing astuteness, attention to detail, openness to risk, flexibility, relationship building and the ability to deliver a profitable program for both the vendors and retailer while providing value to consumers. One thing this year’s Impact Merchants share is a vote of respect by their vendors. In today’s unpredictable retail environment, that vote really counts.

Alison Fosbenner, Lowe’s, Merchandising Manager

The home environment category can be challenging for buyers, as weather patterns and consumer preferences continue to rapidly evolve the category. Technological developments have influenced the category across each of its segments, including water filtration, air purification, humidification, air conditioning and heating.

Design has also influenced much of the market as consumers have found a preference for displaying home comfort appliances versus storing them away.

Stocking on-trend and advanced units can have a heavy impact on a retail location and Lowe’s has approached the category with an eye for quality and innovation, vendors said.

For her approach to the ever-evolving seasonal marketplace, Alison Fosbenner, merchandising manager, Lowe’s, has been named 2017 Impact Merchant for the home environment category.

In 2010, Fosbenner became merchandising specialist at Lowe’s and moved up the ranks throughout the years to her current position. Vendors noted her savvy approach to the seasonal products business and touted her deep knowledge of the categories she works within.

Fosbenner looks to add value and innovation to her home environment assortment, vendors said, and supports a strong relationship with vendors.

One vendor noted that Fosbenner “is a great brand partner with a great eye for what is best for her Lowe’s consumers.”

2017 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):