Becky Blake, Senior Buyer, Gadgets & Cutlery, Walmart

The July 13, 2020, issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 21st 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 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.

Becky Blake, Senior Buyer, Gadgets & Cutlery, Walmart

Lauded for her merchandising, retail and inventory management skills, kitchenware vendors have nominated Becky Blake of Walmart as a 2020 Impact Merchant.

As a senior buyer for the gadgets and cutlery category for Walmart, Blake has been a steady partner for vendors throughout the last few months. Many have commented on her positive attitude and detail-oriented skillset.

With the company since May of 2014, Blake has a solid base of experience to share with vendors on the needs of the Walmart customer. Prior to her time there, Blake was a buyer and planner for other major retailers such as J.C. Penney, Aaron Brothers and Neiman Marcus.

Blake has been said to keep up with business trends and is therefore able to help customers forecast trends and help see them through tough decisions. These abilities, said vendors, were especially helpful when they needed guidance amid the challenges the kitchenware category faced as consumer buying preferences and interests shifted.

Vendors have also commented on Blake’s ability to tap into the latest trends and how to adapt them to fit the Walmart retail model, helping to refresh the housewares department at the retailer. This forward thinking is much in line with Walmart’s dedication to planning for and adopting new technology and services for customers, such as its online grocery shopping and enhancements to its shoppable apps. Services such as these, as well as its curbside pickup and delivery options, have helped Walmart weather some of the storm that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the marketplace. —Lauren DeBellis

2020 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):

Jay Cunningham, T.J. Maxx/Marshalls

Adam Gregory, Target

Karen Rapier, Walmart

Elena Weckerle, Ulta Beauty

Ryan Yarnell, Meijer

Deb Danielson, Target

Sarah Dipietro, Macy’s

Jeff Branz, Wayfair

Taylor Martinez, Costco

Rachel Tsupros, Wayfair

Korey Reed, Walmart

Susette Johnson, AAFES

Becky Blake, Walmart

Gretchen Dexter, Everything Kitchens

David LeClair, Staples