Tifanie Van Laar-Frever
Tifanie Van Laar-Frever

Senior buyer, Walmart

Helping Save The CD
Tifanie Van Laar-Frever, senior buyer at Walmart, the largest seller of CDs in the United States, has helped transform its $5 CD bin into the premier brick-and-mortar power position in retail. That bin single-handedly appears to be helping the CD prolong its life span. While CD sales declined at an 18%-20% rate for four years in a row up to 2010, Walmart has helped slow the decline, with the format down 13.8% so far this year.

My Mentor: "Over the years, I have had many mentors in one business or another, but without hesitation my parents have been the staple. My dad and mom have been my sounding board and greatest supporters and have not only pushed me at every turn, but also given me the greatest advice on how to handle situations in my professional career. They have helped me react appropriately; yet, still represent who I am."

Music has also made a comeback within Walmart itself, which sells some 25% of all CDs in the nation. The chain had adopted a "clean aisle" approach in which temporary corrugated bins were removed from stores. But this year, Walmart refocused on music by bringing such fixtures and endcaps back to Action Alley, the location outside the music department that is heavily trafficked by the chain's 140 million shoppers every week. Another strategy picking up steam under Van Laar-Frever's leadership is its ZinePak deluxe initiative, which gives customers extra value by providing a magazine with stories and information on the artist. And consider this: Van Laar-Frever has been in her music role at Walmart for just a year as of this summer.