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.
Michelle Rado, Costco, Home Environment Buyer
Home environment vendors hailed Costco as focused on quality choices, meeting member expectations with value based and on-trend seasonal appliances. Vendors also noted a long-standing successful retailer and vendor relationship, supported in part by Costco’s commitment to customer service and product selection.
Part of the warehouse club’s success, according to vendors, is the company’s experienced buyers that bring vendors and retailer together. Michelle Rado has been in the business of buying since 1992, and this year celebrates 24 years with Costco.
Home environment vendors praised Rado’s consistent contribution to sales and margin growth, and it is this consistency that has propelled Rado to HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® 2016 Impact Merchant status.
Rado began her career as a buyer for the warehouse club, and has since grown relationships with many vendors to help support the company’s growing assortment of small appliances, including those in home environment.
Vendors also noted that Rado is well versed in the seasonal comfort category, noting her ability to capitalize on market trends and opportunities.
“Rado is responsible for identifying value items that meet current trends, and she is outstanding at the selection process and timely implementation of the Costco seasonal program,” one vendor said.
In addition, suppliers recognized Rado’s drive and dedication to meet Costco’s emphasis for value and said she is fair when evaluating vendor offerings.
“She has a steadfast and direct approach to providing the right program for the Costco member,” another vendor said.
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