Gretchen Dexter, Buyer/Vendor Manager, Everything Kitchens

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.

Gretchen Dexter, Buyer/Vendor Manager, Everything Kitchens

Gretchen Dexter’s understanding of building brands, product selection and marketing opportunities, said vendors, are just a few of the reasons the buyer and vendor manager at Springfield, MO-based Everything Kitchens has been named a 2020 Impact Merchant.

While Dexter had previous experience in the working world, a marketing manager job at Direct Retail introduced her to the business side of retailing. She was in charge of direct mail marketing programs at the company until she launched her own business, Rockridge Group, in 2008. While at that group, Dexter helped launch or re-launch five brands, developed an e-commerce strategy and worked on the business side of retail.

All of this experience, said vendors, has enabled her to become a successful buyer for the independent housewares retailer, which offers more than 13,000 products from 200 kitchenware brands. However, said vendors, while the amount of product the company is responsible for is vast, Dexter seemingly goes out of her way to make even the smallest vendors feel as if they are an important part of the Everything Kitchens family.

“She is great to work with, is always willing to give a new product or brand a chance. She is enthusiastic about partnering with vendors instead of just stocking them, but is also realistic in her approach and expectations,” said a manufacturer. —Emily Cappiello

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