The July 23 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 19th 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 19 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.
Kevin Lubelczyk, Senior Category Associate, Wayfair
Kevin Lubelczyk has shown a “keen awareness of the online retail marketplace,” according to vendors, even in his short time in the housewares and retailing industries. This is just one of the reasons he has been named a HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® 2018 Impact Merchant.
After attending Maine-based Bates College and studying economics, Lubelczyk joined the Wayfair team. In 2016, he held the post of category associate and was promoted in 2018 to senior category associate.
According to vendors, Lubelczyk has shown the desire to be a partner for them. He embraces relationships with vendors, with one noting that he is, “friendly, easy to work with and always available.”
In addition, he fosters a collaborative environment between Wayfair and manufacturers, according to suppliers. He hosts routine collaborative check-ins to ensure alignment on all new Wayfair programs and upcoming promotions; trending categories; trends on bundle kits; new products; and exclusive product offering opportunities. He also is open with manufacturers about how they can expand their assortment with the online retailer with unique bundles and he is willing to take a chance on new cookware and bakeware as well.
Lubelczyk’s tactics, said vendors, fit well within Wayfair’s new initiative that was recently reported on by HomeWorld Business. The company is looking to develop a stronger position in the housewares industry, as shown by its presence at the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show, and will be looking for ways to enhance their position while staying consistent with the e-tailer’s larger strategic thinking.
2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):
- Kirsten Quatromoni, HomeGoods
- Robert Wilburn, The Home Depot
- Dan Weiland, Menards
- Chris Etheridge, Conn’s
- Kevin Lubelczyk, Wayfair
- Cory Ellis, Kroger
- Kim Kimbriel, The Container Store
- Bill Nadel, Bed Bath & Beyond
- Becky Blake, Walmart
- Ashlee Cook, Ulta Beauty
- Amy Neuman, Kohl’s
- Michael Wolpert, Macy’s
- Harry Jacobs, HomeGoods
- LaToya Jackson, At Home
- Zoran Todorovic, Walmart
- Joe Hufford, J.L. Hufford
- Brittany Aluce, Kohl’s
- Allison McPartland, Wayfair
- Chris Gridley, DD’s Discounts