Hildy Abrams | Part II – Industry Perspective, Blog 5

Changes in the industry – moves to e-commerce

Abrams cites many changes in the industry in recent years, which have shaped her business.

“There’s a lot more innovation over the last ten years or so – which is wonderful to see, and a lot of shrinking in terms of the playing field,” she says. “A lot of companies have gone out of business; a lot of companies have merged. Some companies just want to buy everything direct. So in a way there are fewer players. The Internet has changed the business like it has changed everybody else’s.”

E-commerce has become unexpectedly beneficial for Gourmet Settings due to a younger, tech-savvy now interested in its products.

“We started a bridal business at Bed Bath & Beyond and curiously enough 25 per cent of sales are coming over the web, which I never would have predicted.”

Though e-commerce has become integral to Gourmet Settings’ portfolio, she still brings everything back to the people involved. In Abrams’ opinion, great business practice will always be attributed to interpersonal understanding.

“We’re certainly known in the industry,” she smiles. “If anybody has a problem, we take it really seriously. If there’s an opportunity to touch people, we do it through that way.”

Sticking to that mantra, she instills the same values in her staff members. “If you Google Jane Evans – she’s our customer service rep – you’ll find people talking about her and saying how fantastic she is,” Abrams proudly states. “If you call about a missing fork, it’s as if you get a brand new car.”

Aside from the charge Gourmet Settings has made through e-commerce she would like to reach a segment in the restaurant industry. Less interested in chain establishments, Abrams is concerned with aligning with likeminded businesspeople at every opportunity.

“I’m thinking about restaurants that care about every aspect of their business in the same way we do,” she states. “They care about the linens. They care about the dishes. They care about where the ingredients come from. I suspect if they care about that, they’ll care about the flatware too, and give it that same level of detail. That’s the kind of restaurant I’d like to be associated with.”

Abrams occupies an industry where she could conceivably operate with very little face time. Though with her new ownership position and increased autonomy she relishes in her ability to interact with others. She tells us that this approach allows her to keep growing and nurturing the business.

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