The CDMA is much more than just a buying co-op. “We really pride ourselves on being the connection point between the vendor and retail communities,” says John Devine, vice president of the Novi, Mich.-based organization. “We look out for needs of both communities, and make the relationship between the two profitable and successful for both parties.”

Founded in 1926 to support the marketing and merchandising efforts of its members, the CDMA today helps more than 100 independent and regional chains in all aspects of their retail operations, particularly when it comes to stocking their shelves. The association also represents wholesalers as well as manufacturers. The association serves more than 3,000 retail stores in total.

Vitamin World has come a long way since it began in 1976 with a single location. From a small kiosk in Williamsville, N.Y., the company has expanded into malls to create the footprint that it has today thanks to becoming part of NBTY, an American manufacturer of vitamins and nutritional supplements.

“As part of a $3 billion enterprise, our organization garners a wide variety of benefits,” President Jack Krause says. “World-class manufacturing and sourcing functions enable us to create great-quality products at a reasonable price. We have the ability to share ideas and consumer insights with leaders across the business. This scale also gives us an extended talent pool and capabilities in corporate shared functions such as IT, HR and business management.”

The late-2000s were a difficult time for high-end kitchen equipment maker Viking Range Corporation. Like many luxury goods manufacturers, the Greenwood, Miss.-based company was affected as consumers scaled back purchasing during the recession. Further, Viking struggled as its list of products grew beyond what was manageable, though its brand value remained high. 

But since being bought out by The Middleby Corporation at the end of 2012, CEO Selim Bassoul has helped the company regain its focus and improve sales and profits. “We’re growing now instead of shrinking,” says Brent Bailey, vice president of brand management.

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