HUDSON, Ohio--Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, the leading fabric and craft specialty retailer, today announced an organizational change in the merchandising department with the appointment of Susan van Benten as senior vice president/general merchandise manager (SVP/GMM), sewing. She will report to president and chief executive officer (CEO) Jill Soltau, effective August 15, 2016.
“Susan has developed strong supplier relationships and a keen understanding of our industry’s dynamics,” said Soltau. “She will be key in implementing new merchandising fundamentals as part of our retail strategy. Susan brings a passion for serving customers, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the Jo-Ann leadership team.”
van Benten most recently served as chief merchandising and marketing officer/senior vice president (CMO/SVP) with Hancock Fabrics, where she led merchandising, marketing, planning, allocation and data integrity. Previously, she was the SVP/GMM for Books a Million, VP/DMM with Michaels and divisional merchandise manager (DMM) for Steinmart. van Benten began her career in merchandising roles with regional chains in both The May Company and Federated Department Stores. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Merchandising from Indiana University.
In support of this new merchandising structure, Mary Jo Schoenfeld and Kathy Lacks are also joining Jo-Ann.
“I am excited to welcome Mary Jo and Kathy to the Jo-Ann team,” said Soltau. “Over the course of their careers, they have proven themselves to be accomplished leaders in an ever-changing retail environment, and I am confident their knowledge and abilities will help us deliver the right merchandising strategy for our customers at Jo-Ann.”
Schoenfeld is joining Jo-Ann as VP/DMM, seasonal/floral. She most recently served as a DMM for Boot Barn Holdings, Inc., driving sales in stores and eCommerce.
Previously, Schoenfeld served as the VP/DMM ladies/juniors/plus apparel with Shopko Stores, where she was instrumental in fueling growth in the Shopko Hometown small store growth format. She also held roles with Sears, Roebuck and Co., Right Start Acquisition Company, and Robinsons May/Meier & Frank, a division of May Department Stores.
Schoenfeld is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
Kathy Lacks will serve as VP/DMM, trend craft. She most recently served as VP/DMM, hardlines with Hancock Fabrics. At Hancock, Lacks led merchandising strategy, sourcing and execution of the craft and hardlines division.
Prior to Hancock, she was VP/DMM at Michaels, where she was responsible for the improvement of revenue results for a wide array of merchandise. She also brings experience as a buyer for Federated Department Stores, Eric Chandler Merchandising Partners, Noggins/ABC School Supply, Sportstown and Maas Brothers.
Lacks earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama.
To learn more about Jo-Ann, visit joann.com.
About Jo-Ann Stores, LLC
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, the nation’s leading fabric and craft retailer with locations in 49 states, was founded in 1943 as a single retail store. Today, approximately 850 Jo-Ann stores across the country provide consumers all the fabrics, craft supplies and inspiration they need, conveniently under one roof. For additional information, visit Joann.com. To make creative connections, visit Joann.com/community.