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‘What Traits Do You Seek in a Vendor?’

Evaluating the merit of a vendor differs among industries, entities and purchasing agents. We recently asked area organization leaders what they seek in a vendor.

Interviews by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

“As the economic development organization for the county, our priority is to seek out vendors who are located here in Oswego County. We feel it’s important to keep as much of our business in Oswego County as possible to support our small businesses. Following that, we look for vendors who are reasonably priced, can deliver the goods or services in a timely manner and, of course, will meet the needs of our organization.”
Karen Perwitz
Administrative coordinator, Operation Oswego County, Inc., Oswego

“I look for eco-friendly products and businesses that are socially conscious and organizations that contribute to the community and to social justice and the environment.”
Jackie Michel
Owner, Gratitude Leads, Fayetteville

“We always support local businesses. We look at the price to make sure we are getting a good deal. We’ve been doing business here a long time, so I stick with the companies who are good to us. Customer relations are important. We want someone who is responsive.”
Sonya Domachowske
Director, Central Square Gymnastics Center, Inc., Central Square

“I want a vendor who doesn’t take you for granted. We have a long-time vendor in Oswego, Raby’s, who texts every morning to see what we need or to track down specialty items. This is brilliant!”
Tony Pauldine
Owner Anthony M. Pauldine General Contractor, Oswego

“I try to buy local, then regional. Shipping time is very important, so one-day UPS is the goal for all vendors. The next is how they stock my products to go out reliably and how they communicate. I want to be able to pick up the phone and talk with someone, not be in an automated phone system. Last, we hate drip marketing and ‘robo’ sales, don’t bother. You will get blocked. I want a real person to buy from, not scripted email or phone call.”
John M. Henry
Owner Mitchell’s Speedway Press, Oswego

“We are trying to use more local vendors. Aside from that, vendors really do need to research a business they are reaching out to. The number of emails and snail mail we get addressed to employees who have not worked here in years is staggering. The same goes for emails that start, ‘Dear’”
Jeff Weigand
Publisher, Oswego County Media Group, Oswego

“Quality of the product, price of the product and probably most important in today’s environment, ability to deliver the product in a timely manner.”
John Zanewych
President, Big John Sales, Inc., Oswego

“We look for a quality product, a fair price, integrity, responsive, exclusivity and someone who cares about our business and is interested in being in a partnership with The River’s End Bookstore.”
Bill Reilly
Owner, The River’s End Bookstore, Oswego

‘Good reviews online is one thing I look for. Honesty, clarity and follow-up.’
Tim Cordell, Owner and agent,
State Farm Insurance, Central Square

“We want to see what we’re getting and experience what we’re getting. Things are so expensive today. We’ve bought some very expensive tools and when they break down, like vacuums and rug cleaners, you have a lot of money tied up in them. That machine sits there waiting for parts, especially today. What do you do? Because of waiting, we’ve had to go buy something off the shelf and we find that these things are so much more dependable that might be half the price of the $600 machinery that’s ‘professional.’ It’s not always the name or the reputation. We had a breakdown and we had to go to Wal-Mart and buy a vacuum cleaner. This was two years ago and it’s still going.”
Les Green
Owner, L&L Green Residential Cleaning, Central Square

“What I try to look for is a local vendor. I want to be able to pick up the phone and call the owner and not hopefully call India or California or wherever. If I know the owner, that is better. Hopefully, it’s someone I know from church or my kids’ school. A recommendation from other people I know is always helpful too.”
Dan Hartnett
Broker/owner, Berkshire Hathaway CNY Realty

“Personable, not pushy, and willing to answer hard questions. Honesty.”
Michele King
Owner, Fyzical Oswego, Oswego

“Good reviews online is one thing I look for. Honesty, clarity and follow-up.”
Tim Cordell
Owner and agent, State Farm Insurance, Central Square

“I look for someone credible. The reputation is important. That’s why word of mouth is important. If it’s someone offering a service, I ask others what their experience was like. It’s been like this for a long time as a way to do good business. It’s not rocket science.”
Matt McGill
Owner, Matt McGill Collision, Central Square

“Some of the big things we look for are consistency in pricing and delivery time. We look for a good response time we ask them for something. Being good with those things are important. It’s been very hard to get products on time and keep the same pricing with the pandemic happening. We go to buy something we did a week ago and the price is up 20%. It leaves you wondering, ‘How did that happen?’ Some things are out of their control but if we find someone who’s consistent that is helpful.”
Jacob Turner
Owner, Unplugged Gaming, Manlius

“Good customer service and clear pricing.”
Jolie Kallfelz
Owner, Square Deal Liquors, Central Square

“I like dealing with local businesses. That way, I can go into their retail storefront to look at things. I can touch, feel and see the products in person. I can ask questions from the owner of the businesses and get answers right away without having to wait for someone to get back with me. I’m not into the dot com companies. I also look for professionalism. I’ve used the same vendors for quite some time.”
David Wines
Owner, Pinnacle Maintenance, West Monroe

“Customer service is number one. I want to be able to go to them if I have an issue. That is the biggest thing. The quality of what they have is also really important and whether they want to work with me.”
Rebecca Duger
Owner, Uniquely Designed by Rebecca, Elbridge

“I look for their website to see if that looks professional and they have what I’m looking for. I also look at the Better Business Bureau site to see if other people have reported any issues. Good reviews are helpful too.”
Mary E. Riposo
Co-owner Infinite Light Center for Yoga & Wellness, Fayetteville