Brandi Stone, H-E-B, Senior Buyer

The July 22 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 20th 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.

Brandi Stone, H-E-B, Senior Buyer

Brandi Stone is no stranger to the world of housewares having spent three years at home specialty retailer Linens ‘N Things before joining H-E-B in 2008.

While Stone has spent much of her tenure as a toy buyer for the regional supermarket chain, she recently moved into the world of housewares following the retirement of long-time H-E-B housewares merchant Cindy Gomez.

During her tenure at H-E-B, Gomez was an integral part of the launch of H-E-B Cocinaware, a colorful line of cookware and kitchen gadgets touted by the retailer as offering a good value. That line remains an integral part of the supermarket chain’s housewares assortment.

But product suppliers that nominated Stone as a 2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchant are confident that she will continue to drive H-E-B’s housewares business. Vendors who work with Stone said her ability to think outside the box and look for products that offer great value to the retailer’s shoppers will ensure continued growth for H-E-B in the general merchandise category.

During her time at H-E-B, Stone has been a key member of the retailer’s general merchandise team with oversight of the toy category, one that can be challenging in the supermarket environment.

In 2015, H-E-B highlighted Stone’s work in the world of toys in a television commercial that featured her, then with the title as senior toy buyer. The 30-second spot shows her in a room full of toys testing a variety of items. During the commercial, she tells viewers that she “always wanted to be one of Santa’s little helpers” and that she works to find the “best assortment of toys at the best prices.”

2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):

Debbie Hom, Pottery Barn

Cindy Koller Villari, Macy’s

Wendy Altamura, Wegmans

Deb Danielson, Target

Desirae Montgomery, Costco

Sunipa Kreuzer, Crate & Barrel

Adam Gregory, Target

Mark Callahan, QVC

Angela Skogen, Cooks On Main

Brandi Stone, H-E-B

Chrissie Puchta, Wayfair

Carolyn Feuer, Office Depot

Steven D’Iorio, HomeGoods

Jeremy Couey, Walmart

Czarina Tse, CVS

Kristin Bates-Ashton, Costco

John Jansen, Southeastern Grocers

Dan Willman, Best Buy

Leah Postema, Meijer

Gillian McDonald, BJ’s Wholesale Club