Wendy Altamura, Wegmans, Category Merchant, Housewares

The July 22 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 20th 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.

Wendy Altamura, Wegmans, Category Merchant, Housewares

As the growth of housewares in the grocery retail channel continues to expand, Wegmans has been a strong example of how the category can find a prosperous home in the supermarket. According to vendors, the chain has been one of the most aggressive grocery chains to present kitchenware and housewares, providing steep competition to other retailers such as specialty and discount stores.

Wendy Altamura, a category merchant for the retailer, is one example of a buyer that vendors agreed is a champion of helping the category thrive at the retailer. For that reason, the “detailed buyer” has been named a 2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchant.

Altamura has been with the company for several years, working her way up the ranks, according to vendors, who praised the relationship she has built with them over time. “Wendy has a deep understanding of her customer base and therefore successfully selects assortments that meet their needs. She is a very fair buyer and treats her vendor base as partners,” said one vendor.

Viewing the buyer-vendor relationship as a partnership is critical in today’s competitive retail climate, as the two sides need to work together to creatively and strategically showcase housewares products to consumers in new and innovative ways. This is a quality that vendors noted make Altamura a strong partner.

“Wendy isn’t afraid to take risks and has a very keen eye for product,” another supplier noted.

Along with the entire Wegmans team, Altamura ensures products are given the attention needed, vendors noted, which are often presented in creative merchandise displays around the store with a heavy emphasis during seasonal gift-giving times.

2019 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):

Debbie Hom, Pottery Barn

Cindy Koller Villari, Macy’s

Wendy Altamura, Wegmans

Deb Danielson, Target

Desirae Montgomery, Costco

Sunipa Kreuzer, Crate & Barrel

Adam Gregory, Target

Mark Callahan, QVC

Angela Skogen, Cooks On Main

Brandi Stone, H-E-B

Chrissie Puchta, Wayfair

Carolyn Feuer, Office Depot

Steven D’Iorio, HomeGoods

Jeremy Couey, Walmart

Czarina Tse, CVS

Kristin Bates-Ashton, Costco

John Jansen, Southeastern Grocers

Dan Willman, Best Buy

Leah Postema, Meijer

Gillian McDonald, BJ’s Wholesale Club