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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


A view of the industry through the eyes of a chain buyer.

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Good and Bad Times in Kansas City

A lesson in civility.

by "Benny" (May 23, 2005)

(Note: The following is from a buyer for one of the industry's major chains.)

I have to tell you about my experience this past weekend at Quilt Market. It has to deal with independents versus chains, and since this seems to be a hot button right now, I thought it would be appropriate.

Two totally different things happened during my trip to Kansas City.

1. I am standing in line to purchase my show badge. There are two women retailers standing behind me who are discussing the embroidery thread/design on one of their shirts. Me being the thread buyer for a major chain and being nosey, I asked what thread they preferred to use. I always like getting a customer's perspective.

They asked why I was so interested and I told them that I was the thread buyer for X chain. They got all huffy and started telling me who each vendor was and how they were represented on the design. They gave me two vendors, one of whom I do business with and one who won't.

When I told them that one of them would not do business with me, they were almost giddy. To quote, "Good. That is why we buy from them because they don't sell to the chain stores and we can have something exclusive."

And they proceeded to get nasty with me. To say the least I was so taken back I couldn't even speak. For me, that is a big deal! What the retailer doesn't know is that I can't buy it because of an agreement with one of the companies involved. They were so nasty to me I couldn't believe it.

2. Then in the afternoon, we went to a wonderful independent store that you have featured in your column recently. (Editor's Note: That's Urban Art & Craft, www.urbanartsandcrafts.com.)

The store was beautiful and well staffed. We ended up meeting the owner and introduced ourselves as chain buyers. She and I used the time that I was in her store to collaborate on ideas. There was such a nice feeling about it no animosity whatsoever. She obviously knows that there is room for both and that we could both learn a lot from each other.

Isn't it a shame that more people can't learn that??!!

(Note: To read previous columns by "Benny" buyers writing anonymously click on the titles in the right-hand column. To comment, email mike@clnonline.com.)

xxx 

 

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Benny's Recent Columns...
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HIGHLIGHTS OF MICHAELS' SEC FILING; The finances and the plans.

THREE WAYS RETAILERS CAN AVOID THE BLACK FRIDAY BLUES; How to maximize what should be your biggest sales day.

BE A MEDIA DARLING: 5 TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW; How to talk to reporters to maximize the positive effects of media attention.

TOP NEW PRODUCTS AT CHA'S SUMMER SHOW; Mostly scrapbook/paper craft products, but not all.

WAL-MART AND OUR INDUSTRY; A brief, casual history of the relationship.

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COMMENTS ON THE FUTURE OF INDEPENDENT BEAD SHOPS; Are chain stores the problem, or is it something else?

MICHAEL'S FOURTH QUARTER, FISCAL YEAR REPORT; Highlights of a positive report.

WHY MICHAELS DIDN'T MAKE A BOTTOM-LINE PROFIT; Evidence that the banking system is coming back.

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MICHAELS AND A.C. MOORE: Fourth Quarter, Fiscal Year Results; Profits, losses and sales.

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GOOD AND BAD TIMES IN KANSAS CITY; A lesson in civility.

WAL-MART IN THE NEWS - Charity work, legal hassles, an irate ad, and money.

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HOW DO WE TURN THIS "CRAFTER" INTO A SCRAPBOOKER?; An essential goal if the scrapbook market is to grow.

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