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.
John Gehre, H-E-B, GMM
Limited shelf space within supermarket aisles for general merchandise categories such as housewares continually challenge merchants to find the right mix of products to fit the needs of their customers.
John Gehre, gmm, at San Antonio, Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B, has been cited by housewares suppliers as someone who continually finds ways to bring in new items to give his customers a fresh product mix.
Vendors that work with Gehre cited his ability to build a strong team of merchants that push the envelope and find new ways to boost sales at the supermarket chain’s 340 locations.
In addition to his leadership qualities, the retail veteran also received kudos for maintaining strong relationships with vendors across the many categories under his watch, including those in the housewares industry.
His suppliers also lauded his strong eye for products that are fashionable, but still provide the functionality consumers require from their housewares designs. This factor is key within the supermarket environment where limited shelf space often times challenges merchants to find the proper balance between price, design and functionality when choosing their product mix.
Gehre’s experience includes stints at several retailers across multiple channels. He joined H-E-B in 2007, serving as dmm with oversight of domestics, tabletop, furniture and As Seen on TV products. He was promoted to gmm three years later and now has oversight over a host of non-foods product categories including housewares.
Prior to joining the regional supermarket chain, Gehre was vp/dmm at BJ’s with oversight of housewares and several other home product categories.
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