The July 18 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 17th 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 18 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.
Gregg Smith, The Cook’s Warehouse, Buyer
Gregg Smith, a buyer at the Atlanta-based independent gourmet retail store The Cook’s Warehouse, has been instrumental when it comes to the merchandising and marketing of housewares, as well as creating an effective product mix for the store’s customers, according to vendors.
With the company since 2002, Smith has long been involved in the purchasing decisions of all of the gourmet stores under The Cook’s Warehouse umbrella throughout the years. Currently a buyer for all of the major housewares categories, he is responsible for new product purchases and collaborates with Mary Moore, CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse, when it comes to bringing in new product lines.
However, what makes Smith stand out, said Moore, is his ability to make and hone industry relationships. Moore noted that Smith has also been involved in meetings with all of the store’s key vendors and has developed relationships with them that have becoming meaningful and have allowed him to get increasingly involved in the independent gourmet industry as a whole. That, she noted, has been one of the keys to his merchandising success.
“He’s become highly respected in the industry because he is great at forming relationships,” said Moore. However, she added, Smith is also passionate about his job and continues to grow both in his buyer position and in the gourmet housewares industry.
“Smith cares about the whole picture. He also really loves to cook and is fully immersed in his career and what he does. He loves to work, he loves his job and he loves to continue to learn and that makes any employee successful,” she said.
2016 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):
- Bob Couch, Shopko
- Lance Allen, Home Depot
- Paul Casey, Groupon
- Melissa Gaeto, Sur La Table
- Michelle Rado, Costco
- Erica Price, Wayfair
- Joan Haney, Kroger
- Gregg Smith, The Cook’s Warehouse
- Sara Stuckert, Kohl’s
- Dallas Dobbs, Walmart
- Shawn Austin, Macy’s
- Melissa Cameron, Tuesday Morning
- Chris Kutil, Bon-Ton
- Susan Cantalupo, Crate & Barrel
- Alex Ogof, Bed Bath & Beyond
- Michael Beltrami, Cutlery And More
- John Gehre, H-E-B
- Diana Wilf, Gracious Home