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.
Melissa Gaeto, Sur La Table, Bakeware Buyer
The bakeware buyer for Sur La Table, Melissa Gaeto, has been known to go above and beyond, vendors told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®.
“Gaeto is a very strong merchant who is having a very strong sales year. She has accomplished this by balancing her knowledge of her categories, her understanding of food trends and respect for her vendors’ ideas,” said one vendor.
After attending Parsons School of Design, where she attained a BBA in design and management and held a variety of different buying internships in an array of retail sectors, Gaeto was hired full time as a merchandiser assistant for structured wovens for Anthropologie. She then moved on to the Sur La Table retail brand.
Gaeto joined Sur La Table in June 2011, where she was the assistant buyer for cookware. In February 2013, she was appointed to the post of associate buyer, glassware and barware, and served in that position until March 2014. Sur La Table then named her buyer/glassware, bar and furnishings. However, after nine months, she was then promoted to buyer/bakeware, cookware and furnishings for the company. She has been in that position since December 2014.
Her bakeware merchandising savvy has won her high marks from vendors, who named her one of this year’s Impact Merchants.
“She has taken some calculated risks to reduce duplication and it’s paid off. The results are a more differentiated assortment and the customer is voting with their dollars. As a vendor, I appreciate that she sincerely listens to me and is willing to act quickly to avoid missing opportunities. She is also communicative and fair in negotiations,” added another cookware and bakeware vendor.
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