Blog #148 I talked about Valley Fair and 5 Corporate Pacesetters. In this blog I want to talk about my new Merchandiser and Store Manager.
The first day I was at Valley Fair, the Store Manager came down. In the morning to meet me. She was extremely friendly and had a warmth to her I really liked. She would be the fifth different Nordstrom Store Manager for me now in my career. I felt really welcomed by her energetic way and felt really motivated to getting to work.
Tom came in for a brief welcome and was going to come back for a more in depth stock walk. We walked the Salon floor first and he gave me some great pointers on how to run a successful Salon business. As I said earlier The Eastbay buyers nicknamed Tom “Salon Tom” when we were both buyers for Rob. He was the Salon Buyer in Walnut Creek and he was always getting cash call for his business during the recognition meetings. I had a good basic start for the Salon area now. He would go in more detail later in the week.
After Tom left I was in a great mood. First meeting Karen and now Tom, they were both so positive. I thought I’d do a stock walk myself first with the First Asst. Felicia. Felicia was a very vibrant and positive person. She was hard not to like. She had a great sense of humor and laughed a lot. I liked her right away. They had a lot of good best practices in place so at least that was a positive.
Joe had pretty much everything dialed so to have better business I had to figure out where the weak points were. We had 5 corporate Pacesetters so maybe focusing on the others while the top five did their thing was one way to go. I thought also to focus on Salon would be the other opportunity since Joe was such a Dept. 36 maven.
Biggest Return I’ve ever seen
After a few days of looking at the stock and the PO’s I decided to just watch the floor all day to get a sense of the custom
er base. Not long after we opened a customer came up to me and asked if I was the manager. She went on to say her mother had just passed away and she had some shoes in her closet that were never worn but had the Nordstrom sticker still on the box. Nordstrom was very good about taking care of the customer so I told her we would take care of her.
Right after I told her that she whips out a walkie talkie and in a very aggressive tone says “Bring em in Herb, he said yes”. I was thinking “WTF?” Herb shows up a minute later with a hand truck with four 18 pair cases full of shoes. I must have stood there with my mouth wide open. I could hear Daryl in the back of my mind saying “O’boy”. We took a look at each case and they were shoes probably 5-10 years old, all with Nordstrom stickers on the box.
“My mother would buy shoes and just put them in the closet and not wear them.” So I’m looking at a 72 pair return and All the shoes were paid for at full price. I decided to call Karen for advice on how to price the return since they were so old. She told me since there wasn’t a receipt we would have to go by the shanks on the sole. At Nordstrom we used to write the price, store number and employee number on the bottom of the soles where the shank would be. This was going to be a $5,000 return so our day was toast.
The customer was really grateful and I told her I knew it must be hard for her to do this so we would make it as easy as possible for her. On the inside I was boiling though. Who does this? Tom called me when we were showing a negative number. “What Happened?” He was good at lifting my spirits up. Makes for a good story though as I’ve re-told this story quite a few times.
The good news was, I liked my new Merchandiser and Store Manager and the team was great. Joe had the department running pretty good so that would be the biggest challenge was figuring out how to beat his numbers…
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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