Taylor Martinez, Assistant Buyer, Costco

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.

Taylor Martinez, Assistant Buyer, Costco

Costco is known as a go-to destination for consumers looking to stock up on everything from food to floor care, and a relatively new assistant buyer, Taylor Martinez, is attracting attention in the home environment and personal care appliance categories.

An eight-year Costco employee, Martinez took on the role of assistant buyer in March, just before the COVID-19 crisis erupted. But this ambitious and eager newcomer is getting credit for keeping in touch with vendors and working on programs throughout the pandemic.

“He’s young, he’s motivated and he is really enthusiastic about working with us [and other manufacturers]to develop the business,” said one home environment supplier. “We think he is someone who has a bright future in the industry.”

Martinez has been a full-time employee at Costco since 2012, holding positions as an inventory control specialist and stocker prior to getting a B.S. degree in marketing from California State University at San Marcos in 2018. His first experience with the home category included working with the buying and vendor teams for LG and Whirlpool major appliances.

Suppliers said Martinez is already approaching the business creatively, and “seems to have an innate understanding of how to blend the in-store and online environments,” one home environment executive said.

“Taylor is very personable, and interested in working with people,” another industry source commented.

Costco’s home environment assortment currently covers a range of categories that have seen an uptick in demand during the pandemic, including air purifiers and filters, humidifiers, and vacuums and floor care.

“While most consumers were stocking up on groceries and essentials for the crisis, Costco also has been doing a good business on our products,” said a home environment supplier. “People read stories in the news [about humidifiers and air purifiers]and they have been going out and buying them.”

And although Martinez hasn’t been in the job long enough to take credit for the current merchandise assortment, industry executives said it is only a matter of time before he makes his mark, calling him “definitely someone to watch going forward.” —Donna Boyle Schwartz

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