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Corner Office Perspective: DeBoer Keeps Next Opportunity In The Family

October 12, 2012
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DeBoer Keeps Next Opportunity In The Family

When Family Dollar began to look for a new head for its private brands program, it didn’t have to travel far to find the right fit. Industry veteran Tammy DeBoer was living just down the road from the retailer’s headquarters in Matthews, N.C., and was excited for the opportunity to lead the next wave of the company’s private label initiatives.

Family Dollar's private label program reached for bright, vibrant colors when it began revamping the design on its new products. It used more marketing efforts and began expanding its program into new key categories such as consumables and health and beauty care.

In 2011, it added 500 private label SKUs across several lines, including Family Gourmet, Kidgets, and Family Chef. Earlier this year, the retailer added 100 items in its consumables categories in the first quarter, as well as rolling out Family Wellness, its private label health care line of products.

Family Wellness joined other Family Dollar private label lines such as Interiors by Design, Tropic Sun, Outdoors by Design, and Highland Outfitters. And with more than 7,000 stores nationwide, Family Dollar is the second-largest dollar store chain in the United States.

That's the scene that DeBoer walked into this summer.

PLBuyer Editor Chris Freeman talked with DeBoer about her 20-plus years in the retail industry, finding Family Dollar, and what lies ahead for the company.

PLBuyer: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you were a good fit for this role as Family Dollar’s vice president of private brands and merchandising initiatives.

Tammy DeBoer: I was the director of private label programs twice in my career. And I built brand awareness and loyalty with the Bloom banner at Food Lion.

PLBuyer: It has been about a year since you left Delhaize, where you were the vice president of Bloom. So what did you like about this opportunity with Family Dollar that made you decide to come back?

DeBoer: Family Dollar is a company I’ve watched a lot the last couple of years. I’ve been aware of their significant growth, and when I had the opportunity to meet the senior leaders, I realized this was a really good fit for me. It’s a great opportunity for me to leverage my experience and drive to make the program even better.

PLBuyer: What is the most important aspect for you when you look at Family Dollar’s private label program?

DeBoer: The most important function to me is building brand equity. It has to be a national brand equivalent item when we consider sourcing, whether it’s domestically or globally sourced. We have some products that have our consumers saying they like the private label version better than the branded one, and that’s what we’re pursuing, getting their loyalty to Family Dollar products to come back and buy them again.

PLBuyer: How do you help your customers connect with your private label products?

DeBoer:The foundation for setting the quality aspect is getting our customers to know we’re in the private label business in a big way. We need to create awareness that we have high quality products at a great value.

PLBuyer: Are there areas or categories that you’re reviewing in the program today that you’d like to work more closely with?

DeBoer: In some cases we’re looking at only carrying private brands as a single source. There are a lot of categories where the customers will only buy private brands, and where the private label share is so high, we’ll look at going to a single source within the store.

PLBuyer: If you could talk about your goals for Family Dollar’s program to a customer or a staff member, how would you express them?

DeBoer: Creating awareness of our quality is paramount in the continued evolution of our private brand program. Our objective is to continue to drive a relevant assortment that is national brand equivalent, and consumers understand our products are of great quality and at a great value. 

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