Desirae Montgomery, Costco, Buyer, Cutlery

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.

Desirae Montgomery, Costco, Buyer, Cutlery

In her nearly ten years of working as a buyer in several categories, including cutlery for Costco, Desirae Montgomery has earned a reputation for being an accessible and easy to work with partner, vendors told HomeWorld Business. For this reason and others, she is one of this year’s Impact Merchants.

Costco’s cutlery program is a popular one among its club members, as many shop the store and its ecommerce site for deals on branded knife sets. This consumer preference has led the retailer to become more open to working with new and emerging brands, something suppliers in the industry said make Montgomery a strong presence at Costco.

“She is willing to take risks on products she believes in,” stated a vendor.

Montgomery works closely with vendor partners to ensure their products are a fit for the Costco warehouse club model, or have the potential to be. Often the retailer is known to conduct “road shows” or trial periods in order to introduce customers to a new brand the retailer is interested in bringing into stores.

Cutlery is one category that is well suited for such events, as it gives consumers one-on-one time with brand representatives often participating in demonstrations so that consumers can see and try the products for themselves. The success of such events and trial periods will often be the deciding factor for the retailer to bring in a supplier.

In recent years, Costco, guided by its buying team including Montgomery, has brought forth new cutlery companies, as well as brought back older ones that have reinvented themselves.

With its retail model, Costco is able to bring in cutlery with higher pricepoints at prices its club members are willing to pay as they trust the retailer and the buying team’s commitment to bringing in products that fit their needs.

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