Country Store catalog is a home-improvement success story with a high-tech twist.
The catalog is produced by Reiman Publications, Greendale, WI, which was founded by Roy Reiman in 1964 as a magazine publishing company. In the early 1970s, Reiman launched Farm Wife News magazine and began offering “I’m Proud to be a Farm Wife” T-shirts at cost to promote the publication.
The shirts were so popular that Reiman executives realized the company could sell the garments for a profit. Reiman expanded the brand, adding “I’m Proud to be a Farmer’s Daughter” and “I’m Proud to be a Country Boy” versions, among others.
Soon Reiman had a booming mail-order business that evolved into Country Store catalog.
Today, Country Store boasts about 500,000 12-month buyers of more than 400 country-oriented products, such as apparel, housewares, kitchen accessories, cookbooks, gardening tools and various outdoors-oriented items, reports John LeBrun, Reiman senior vice president. The catalog’s tagline: “The General Store That Fits in Your Mailbox.”
Last year, Reiman mailed 7.3 million Country Store catalogs, along with 65 million supplements polybagged with each of Reiman’s 12 family-oriented magazines. That stable of titles still includes Farm Wife News, now published as Country Woman. All of Reiman’s other business segments and spin-offs—magazine publishing, book publishing, travel services and cooking schools—complement and, in many cases, propagate catalog sales.
Most of last year’s catalog orders were placed via mail (54 percent) and telephone (39 percent), according to LeBrun. The Country Store Web site, which is at CountryStoreCatalog.com, launched in October 1999, averages 100 orders per day.
Country Store catalogs are published spring and fall, each release averaging 50 to 70 pages. Supplements are distributed year-round. A typical catalog production cycle lasts about three months, starting with a product-selection meeting.
Once the items are determined, the team works on image acquisition. That task has been streamlined since Reiman added an in-house digital photography studio.