The August 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 12th 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.
Tony Curtis-Wellings, Faraday’s Kitchen Store, Owner
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: With a background in the restaurant industry, Tony Curtis-Wellings and his wife, Melissa Curtis-Wellings, founded Austin, TX-based Faraday’s Kitchen Store in 2005. The store, which is billed as Austin’s largest kitchen store, carries approximately 5,500 different culinary tools from more than 300 manufacturers featured in a good, better, best product assortment. The store also offers cooking classes, workshops and a cooking camp for kids.
Looked upon as a leader in the independent gourmet industry by other storeowners, Curtis-Wellings was featured as a 2012 Gourmet Insider All-Star retailer.
WHAT TO WATCH: An authoritative voice in the independent gourmet retail channel to both vendors and retailers, Curtis-Wellings has been a proponent for change. He was quick to adopt e-commerce, switching over to a mobile responsive website after realizing how many users were on their phones and tablets.
While the independent gourmet channel has seen challenges during the last year as online sales have grown, Curtis-Wellings has not rested on his laurels. In the last year, he began launching increased digital initiatives, which changed the way he focused on sales at his store. He began taking the lifestyle imagery he was posting online and started creating more lifestyle-centric vignettes in his store to continue to connect to consumers that started online. This, he said, has increased his sales significantly. He has begun working with vendors to continue to secure more lifestyle imagery and marketing programs for Faraday’s and the gourmet channel overall.
A mentor to others and a voice for the gourmet industry, Curtis-Wellings is quick to share his findings with other retailers in hopes that it will help them, and the industry, continue to find success.
PERSPECTIVE: “We really have to create a better experience in the store and we are working with everyone to go that way. We are making small changes that are creating more excitement in the store. The vendors are really stepping it up and are partnering with us and we are excited about our customers seeing that. I think that anyone that is making changes to get customers excited again will make it. I believe that brick-and-mortar isn’t dead, it’s just beginning to come into its own,” said Curtis-Wellings.
2018 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Katrina Helmkamp, Lenox Corporation
- Terry Carlson, Lasko Products
- Gilles Gosselin, Atlantic Promotions/Starfrit
- Brendan Proctor, Lidl U.S.
- John Mackey, Whole Foods Market
- Arjen Linders, Philips North America
- Mike George, QVC
- Rob Kay, Filament Brands
- Marc Lore, Walmart
- Kurt Jovais, Midea America Corp.
- Liz Zadro, Zadro Products
- Bradley Smith, Cheyenne Products
- Larry Witt, Oxo
- Lori Gonzalez, Twin-Star
- Bobby Griggs, Hammer Stahl
- Tony Curtis-Wellings, Faraday’s
- Brett Bradshaw & Robert Michelson, Bradshaw
- Rick Carey, Metal Ware