A group of retail veterans with experience in the discount retail arena are uniting to create a new business that will include wholesale, retail and e-commerce components. The venture brings together executives with more than 200 years of combined retail experience in a value-based retail “dream team” of sorts, according to a news release.
The team includes:
• Tom Holley, former president and CEO of Grandpa’s Stores and founder/president of Deals: Nothing Over a Dollar;
• Bill Shaner, former president and CEO of Save-A-Lot Stores (2006-2011) and principal of Shaner Management Group;
• Larry Tyler, EVP of merchandising for Grandpa’s, Deals and Save-A-Lot;
• Rick Meyer, EVP of real estate development for Grandpa’s, Deals and Save-A-Lot and principal of TAT Capital & Consulting; and
• Jeff Schneider, buyer/category expert for Grandpa’s, Deals and Save-A-Lot and founder of his own closeout and distribution business.
The wholesale division will be called STL Global Sales and the retail and e-commerce businesses will operate under the name Here Today.
The release says that STL Global Sales will source and sell deeply discounted consumables and general merchandise across multiple categories to a network of wholesale contacts ranging from major national chains to small, independent wholesalers and retailers.
“The team’s network of contacts, cultivated over decades, will allow them to identify and make opportunistic buys at remarkable prices,” the release says. “Those savings will be passed on to their customers, both on the wholesale and retail side. The wholesale side will also provide a unique solution for manufacturers for end-of-lifecycle products, including overstocks, expiring or retiring product lots, discontinued items, closeouts and seconds.”
Later this year, the team plans to launch the retail and e-commerce divisions, opening the first four Here Today stores in the St. Louis market, where the company is based. The stores will offer an assortment of deeply discounted merchandise across numerous categories (grocery, refrigerated and frozen food; housewares; electronics and small appliances; storage solutions; health and beauty; home décor; seasonal; pet products and accessories; gifts; candy, etc.) all presented in an engaging, interactive shopping environment, according to the release. Approximately 50 percent of the offering will be general merchandise.
“Unlimited by a certain price point or a certain category, the product mix can and will be ever-changing,” the release says. “As the team likes to say and the name implies, deals so ‘shocking’ they are likely to be Here Today and gone tomorrow.”
“We believe that we can deliver exceptional values at a time when consumers place tremendous importance on saving both time and money,” says Holley. “We’re taking the best parts of some of the other value-centric retail formats out there, blending in on-trend merchandise, pricing it to knock people’s socks off and bundling it all in a store that is truly inspiring. In doing so, we believe we will transform the category of off-price retail.”
The store format will likely be in the range of 15,000-20,000 s.f. located in accessible, high-traffic neighborhood strip centers. The team has hired Gensler, a global architecture and design firm, to develop the store prototype and build the first locations. No sites have been chosen yet. Plans call for expanding the concept from its Midwestern base, with hundreds of Here Today stores projected nationwide within five years. The e-commerce website will be live by mid-2013. In year one, the company plans to hire approximately 150 team members locally.