"The most rewarding aspect of my job is the people I get to work with every day. I really feel like part of a team and enjoy spending time with my co-workers. "
Up Close: Profile of the Retail Buyer for the Entertainment Complex
When you visit Hersheypark or Giant Center and browse through the gift shops and buy souvenirs to take home, you probably don’t even think about why some merchandise is available in some locations and not others, or how we decide what items we offer our guests. For Tracey Brunner, Retail Buyer for the Entertainment Complex this is almost all she thinks about. Her job focuses on buying, managing inventory and product development for all the retail stores located throughout the Entertainment Complex.
Between Tracey’s busy schedule of visiting trade shows throughout the country and managing the numerous retail locations we were able to grab a few minutes of her time. Read on to find out about Tracey’s path to Hershey, what she loves about her job and lots more.
Does a career in the retail area sound like a sweet career path? Join us on for the Hersheypark Job Fair on Tuesday, January 15 from 3-7 p.m. at Giant Center. Applicants can apply, interview and be hired on the spot! NEW this year are Hersheypark internships. Interns will experience specialized training in select areas of focus and are eligible to participate in our Leadership Development Training program. In addition, interns have opportunities to network with full-time team members to learn about career development at HE&R and the industry at large. For more information and to secure your interview time, visit Hersheypark.com/Jobs.
Q) Tell us about your career. Where did you go to school? What was your career path prior to joining Hershey?
A) I attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA with a dual major in International Relations and Art History/Fine Art. I started at Bloomingdale's in New York City in the Buyer Training Program. I continued to work at Bloomingdale's for eight years and reached the position of Buyer. I worked in the catalog and online division as the Bath Buyer for the Home Retail team. In 2000, I moved to Los Angeles, California and started my career at The Walt Disney Company as Associate Merchandising Manager. My first position was developing and merchandising Art and Collectibles for the catalog and online division. I continued to work there for seven years and reached the position of Director of Merchandise and Product Design.
Q) Walk us through your career so far at Hershey.
A) I started working at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) in November of 2010. I am currently the Buyer for the retail stores in the Entertainment Complex including, Hersheypark, ZooAmerica, and Hershey Sports at Giant Center. In my current role, I am responsible for developing, buying, and managing the inventory of all retail merchandise. A major focus of my position is product development.
Q) What's your biggest accomplishment since joining the Hershey team?
A) I believe my biggest accomplishment at HE&R is creating a diverse assortment of merchandise for our retail stores. We have become more focused on the branding of our stores and creating stores that are filling a need for our guests. We try to incorporate a good, better, best strategy so there is something for everyone from the school groups to the travelers on vacation. Most importantly, we provide quality souvenirs at a good value.
Q) What's your favorite ride at Hersheypark?
A) I will go on most any ride in the Park but I think my favorite ride is Coal Cracker. In any amusement park, my favorite ride is usually the log flume.
Q) What's the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A) The most rewarding aspect of my job is the people I get to work with every day. I really feel like part of a team and enjoy spending time with my co-workers. When things need to get done, everyone helps each other out and supports each other.
Q) What advice would you give someone interested in a career in amusement parks?
A) The best experience I had was joining a company like Bloomingdale’s that offered a buyer training program. The program switches you from in-store as Department Manager and to the office as Assistant Buyer and Planner. It gives you the best idea of all the possible job opportunities in retail and you quickly find which one suits you the best.
Q) What's the best perk of your job?
A) The best perk of my job is getting out of the office and traveling to visit different shows, stores and attractions. We travel to Las Vegas every year for the Las Vegas Souvenir Show and New York City for Toy Fair and the Gift Show. We also do reciprocal visits, including one with Sight and Sound Theater to view each other’s operations and discuss best practices. This fall, we traveled to New York City to visit Candytopia, a pop-up exhibit all made of candy and Mickey Mouse's 90th Anniversary Pop-Up Museum.
Q) What does a typical day consist of?
A) One of my favorite things about my job is that every day is different. With the wide scope of merchandise we sell, one day we are designing t-shirts and the next day we could be brainstorming new store concepts. I like that I get to split my time in the office and out in the stores. The cycle of product development varies by merchandise type so we are consistently developing, ordering, reordering and analyzing sales. There are a lot of items in our stores and we are constantly developing and adding new items.
Q) Tell us something folks might not know about you.
A) I live in Harrisburg with my awesome husband, Chuck and my 2 awesome kids, daughter Ryann (10) and son Cash (7). I was pregnant with my son when I started working at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. Every morning I start with a Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee. For vacations, we visit my dad in Palm Desert, California and every summer 18 of my closest relatives rent a house for a week in Long Beach Island, NJ. In addition, I grew up in New Jersey and we love the Sixers, the Eagles and the Phillies!