Coborn’s, what once was a small produce market has grown into a major retailer with over 120 retail locations across the Midwest since it was founded in 1921. A conventional supermarket that offers natural and specialty products for consumers and their evolving preferences, one of Coborn’s key missions is to inspire happiness, healthy living, and simplicity, one guest at a time. And that’s where Rhonda Siltman comes in. She has been a part of the Coborn’s buying team for 8 years as the Natural, Organic, and Specialty Category Manager, and prior to that worked in a Coborn’s store for 13 years. Today, she is responsible for selecting and promoting new products to bring into Coborn’s stores that align with the company mission.
We had the chance to speak with Siltman to learn more about why she uses RangeMe to discover products, what trends she’s buying for, and what she looks for in a supplier.
RangeMe: When did you discover RangeMe, and what are you using it for?
Siltman: We joined RangeMe in August of 2018. We turned to RangeMe to simplify our product discovery process. If a supplier thinks they’re a great fit for Coborn’s, we wanted them to be able to submit their products to us in a more organized process compared to cold calls and emails that might get overlooked. When a supplier submits its products to us through RangeMe, we can easily view everything about their business in one spot before reaching out.
RangeMe: When you log into RangeMe, what is your process like? What fields do you look at on a supplier’s RangeMe profile? What other aspects of a product are important to you?
Siltman: I always start off by checking our submissions and all the new products that came in.
The first three things I look at when reviewing a brand is the length of time they have been in business, the distributors they are currently working with, and their yearly revenue. I look at distributors because we want a new product to be carried by one of our current distributors. If those fields match what I’m looking for, then I’ll check out the other fields RangeMe has suppliers fill out.
On top of that, I’m always looking for brands and products that are on-trend but are leaders in that trend. A product’s packaging is also important and often an improvement opportunity for new brands.
RangeMe: What RangeMe resources do you utilize to discover new products?
Siltman: Collections, collections, collections! I really like the trade show collections. That allows me to have a preview of items that I want to seek out at the shows. All the other collections are great because they also allow me to look at items from different perspectives.
RangeMe: How important is it to you that suppliers be Verified?
Siltman: I prefer to work with Verified brands because I know they have the necessary requirements to get into retail stores quickly.
RangeMe: Have you brought any suppliers into your stores that you found on RangeMe? What caught your attention about these brands?
Siltman: Yes! Strong Roots is one that comes to mind. They were a Verified brand with excellent packaging and on-trend flavors. I found them on RangeMe and saw they would be attending Expo West, so I was able to touch base with them in person. We’re very excited about their products at Coborn’s.
RangeMe: Any tips for a supplier looking to work with Coborn’s?
Siltman: Suppliers that want to work with Coborn’s need a plan and budget to promote and support their item in our stores.
RangeMe: What trends are you most excited about this year?
Siltman: Trends on my radar for the remainder of this year and 2020 include products that are paleo, keto, allergen-friendly, and plant-based.
Coborn’s has big plans this year to increase sales and better understand their customer’s shopping habits so that its buying team can make better decisions on which products to bring into stores. With the help of RangeMe, Siltman, and other Coborn’s buyers are able to browse through product Submissions and Collections to discover brands that would be a great fit for their stores.
Are you a buyer looking for trending products? Browse Collections to discover new products in your category.
Are you a supplier looking to get into Coborn’s? Check them out in Submissions.
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