Variety In Your
Dollar Store: By Rob Kole, President, Kole Imports
Variety is the spice of life. William Cowper first shared this
profound thought with the world nearly 250 years ago. We believe he
was correct then and he is still correct even now, 250 years later.
We not only believe that the quality of one’s life can be measured
by its variety, likewise we believe that as suppliers of general
merchandise the job we are doing can often be measured by the
variety we offer our customers.
A decade ago in 1997 Kole Imports carried 1800 items in our general
merchandise product line. It has taken a lot of effort but we are
proud to say that our variety has grown to over 4000 items and it is
still growing. We have grown accustomed to stepping over boxes of
samples to get to our desks and having the carpet in our office
covered with everything from jump ropes to jumper cables. We review
hundreds of new items offered to us each week and only the top 2% of
items we are offered make it into our line and onto our website
www.koleimports.com for sale to our customers.
In addition to looking for items from new suppliers, we also have a
wide variety of really nice closeouts at super-low prices, with new
closeouts arriving every week. We’re always looking to buy
closeouts if the items fit our criteria of looking good and
providing a good value to the customer. We used to mix closeout
items in with similar merchandise on
www.koleimports.com, but we have so many now, we’ve created a
closeout category on our site to display them all. These are
one-time deals, they sell fast, and our customers love them.
The hardest part of adding all these new items has been staying
focused on finding “winners” that will jump off our customers’
shelves rather than simply finding “filler” items. That is why we
constantly remind ourselves and our buying team that we want not
just great variety but a “variety of values” which will result in a
quick sellthrough and fast reorders from our customers. We believe
providing our customer with this variety is our responsibility and
we take that responsibility very, very seriously.
We believe that you as a store owner clearly
have the same obligation to your customers and we feel good about
helping you fulfill that responsibility. That is why we are
delighted whenever our customers compliment us concerning our
selection of new items.
Most retailers have a number of customers who
regularly visit their stores. It is clearly in your best interest
to keep new and exciting items regularly arriving into your stores.
This accomplishes two things. New items sell well, so you will
often see an initial rush of sales when a new item arrives. But,
maybe more importantly, you will keep your store fresh looking and
interesting for your customers which either consciously or
subconsciously will encourage them to visit your store more often.
If people come to your store regularly to see what’s new, looking
for bargains, and they find a great deal on something new, they’re
more likely to return to shop in the future.
Please feel free to contact Kole Imports
anytime with your questions or suggestions. We welcome your
thoughts. We will continue to look for new and exciting ways to
continue to be “Your Profit Source,” and we are always looking for
new values to offer our customers.
Rob Kole, President
24600 South Main Street, Carson, CA 90745
(800) 874-7766 or (310) 834-0004
West Coast Merchandiser Magazine, October, 2007