The August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th Annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.
Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.
The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.
Neal Asbury, The Legacy Companies, CEO
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Since founding The Legacy Companies in 1998, Neal Asbury continues to build the company through acquisition of long-standing brands in the housewares and commercial food service businesses. With names such as Omega, Excalibur and Zeroll already on the company’s housewares roster, Legacy this year acquired EdgeCraft, best known for its Chef’sChoice brand of knife sharpeners and kitchen electrics, and completed two other acquisitions, Legion Industries and Orien.
WHAT TO WATCH: For Asbury and Legacy, there will be a few key things to watch. One will be the integration of its acquisitions, most notably EdgeCraft, which boosts Legacy’s presence in the highly competitive small electrics segment and expands the company’s assortment beyond juicing, blending and food dehydration. It also gives the company more shelf space at leading big box retailers. Asbury noted that the management team at EdgeCraft would remain in place, a tactic he has employed with past acquisitions. “We’re not the type of company to go out and buy another company and then dismantle it,” he previously told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. “What we do is give the company acquired more fire power.”
The recent purchase of Legion Industries also gives Legacy a line of upscale copper and stainless steel cookware. Although Legion currently only has two cookware lines— Copperware and Inductoware— further investment could expand that assortment. And while Legacy has been active with acquisitions so far this year, Asbury noted that more could be on the way.
PERSPECTIVE: Asbury has built Legacy by acquiring companies that have a history in housewares or commercial food service and also manufacture domestically. When acquiring EdgeCraft, he spoke of the company’s long-standing commitment to engineering products from the ground up and not going to China to buy from a factory. “We want to maintain EdgeCraft as a premium brand versus being a company that keeps lowering pricepoints. There’s no value in selling those kinds of products,” he said.
2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Jeff Gennette, Macy’s
- Ulrik Garde Due, Fiskars
- Patrick Schneider, International Innovation Company
- Ernie Herrman, TJX Companies
- Bill Foley, Libbey
- Doug Kellam, ZeroWater
- Steve Greenspon, Honey-Can-Do International
- Anne Willis, Whitford Corporation
- Michael Polk, Newell Brands
- Karen and Brad Hughes, Artichoke
- Don Saller, Jokari
- Carmen Nestares, Amazon
- Neal Asbury, The Legacy Companies
- Jay Jordan, Ameriwood
- Dave Richmond, Tre Milano/InStyler
- Robert Gamgort, Keurig Green Mountain
- Jennifer Dalquist, Nordic Ware
- Steve Matyas, Staples
- Marc Sculler, Twin-Star International
- Bob Kellermann and Henry Lodge, Lodge Manufacturing