Korey Reed, Senior Product Development & Sourcing Manager, Lighting, Clocks & Crafts, Walmart

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.

Korey Reed, Senior Product Development & Sourcing Manager Lighting, Clocks & Crafts, Walmart

Lighting has been an evolving category at Walmart and vendors said Korey Reed has helped keep it advancing.

Over the past few years, lighting has been an evolving category in Walmart stores, with the company looking at multiple configurations to maximize the category’s potential. Online, lighting has become subject to increasingly sophistical merchandising propositions. Not only is lighting offered by segment and via the usual filters, Walmart today provides digital shoppers with multiple ways to explore the classification, putting it in home office presentations, in one case, in settings by style, such as Bohemian, and in functional contexts, via buying guides, all set as part of the overall category landing page.

One vendor pointed out that Reed, who has worked in product development and sourcing, stepped up to take additional responsibilities at Walmart to cover the buyer role, and has put in the time and hard work necessary to maintain high standards. With significant dedication, the supplier said, she has been able to keep the lighting business dynamic and effective.

Another supplier pointed out that keeping things moving has required Reed to reach out, jump into projects and keep the enterprise on an even keel. The vendor said Reed understands how to function as a partner with suppliers and has managed to maintain effective relationships despite the twists and turns of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, but she has looked to the future, identifying strong products and challenging vendors to ensure the success of the lighting department.

The midst of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. isn’t exactly the ideal time to accept additional responsibilities. However, Reed has embraced the challenge effectively, vendors noted. In doing so, Reed has demonstrated the professionalism and savvy to emerge as a 2020 Impact Merchant. —Mike Duff

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