Ryan Yarnell, Buyer, Housewares, Meijer

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.

Ryan Yarnell, Buyer, Housewares, Meijer

According to vendors polled by HOMEWORLD BUSINESS, Ryan Yarnell, housewares buyer at Meijer, has been critical to successes with the Meijer brand because of his relationship building as well as his focus on creating sales opportunities even when one may not be obvious. These and other attributes have landed him to a spot on the list of 2020 Impact Merchants.

“Ryan exhibits outside-of-the-box thinking to drive results at Meijer within the bakeware/cookware categories. Whether it be pet month, Fourth of July or key baking and cooking season, he is always on the lookout for up and coming trends,” said one vendor.

Yarnell has years of housewares knowledge, starting his career as a buyer at Kmart in 2004. From there, he moved on to Sears Holdings Corp., also as a buyer, and then joined the team as a buyer at Meijer in 2006. He was then promoted to planning manager in 2014 and was named the retailer’s housewares buyer in 2018.

Those who nominated Yarnell echoed his ability to form relationships with manufacturers as well as his keen ability to plan thoughtfully as a reason they enjoy working with him as a buyer. His persistence in growing a business sustainably over time has also been an asset to manufacturers that are looking to increase business with the Meijer retail brand.

“He makes the relationship with Meijer feel like a partnership, rather than a business model, which makes working with him exciting and productive,” noted one vendor.

Another vendor noted that Yarnell’s forecasting ability and extra attention to market trends has helped to identify increased sales opportunities and has also allowed them to get ahead on product development themselves.

“Fantastic ability to identify new trends, future opportunities and adjust merchandise flow based on increased volume,” said the vendor. —Emily Cappiello

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