Pioneering Specialty Markets (Grab-and-Go)
Some of our founders were pioneers (with Nestle USA Corporate) in setting up snack and beverage programs (Grab-and-Go) with retailers and service customers in non-traditional / alternative retail formats. Before then it was rare to see a snack and beverage program in a hardware, auto parts or audio/electronic chain. The Nestle Team started with West Marine Boating stores (with a snack program) and ended up setting up a large number of customers over the next number of years (1995 – 1999 and beyond).
* Our founder was sent to Switzerland (Nestle’s World Headquarters) to help set up similar programs in many markets worldwide.
The History of Non-Traditional / Alternative Retail Formats (Distributors)
Marjack Company Inc. (previously based in Landover, Maryland),was a distributor of candy, snack items, and specialty retail products throughout the United States. Marjack specialized insnack programs (ex was a key distributor for Blockbuster Video) who grew to $158 million in volume prior to being acquired by Vistar (had eight owned centers). The main owner was Warren Coopersmith.
Liberty Distribution Company LLC (“Liberty”) was founded in 1998 (James Schweikert) and has since become the leading distributor of candy, chips, and related snack food items to non-food retailers throughout the United States. Liberty’s customers comprise some of the largest and most demanding national retailers. They include The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, The Sports Authority, Office Depot, AutoZone, among many others. Their vendors included Mars, Hershey’s and Nestle, to name just a few. As of 2012, Liberty serviced over 50,000 retail locations with three strategically placed distribution centers throughout the country.
Continental Concession Supplies Inc was a dominant distributor in the concessions area (movie theatres, stadiums, arenas, family fun centers and others). They were the #1 distributor for concessions in movie theatres. CCSI evolved into being a strong distribution partner with non-traditional and alternative format retailers and food service end-users. Headed up by Adam Gottlieb, CCSI was a competitor to Liberty Distribution.
Vistar acquired the three distributors involved in alternative retail formats (CCSI, Marjack, Liberty Distribution) and today is the dominant distributor for specialty, concessions, vending and alternative formats. They pride ourselves as being one of the largest wholesale distributors in our industry. They have locations strategically placed in every region of the country and with 20 distribution centers and 9 Merchant’s Marts, Vistar has the size and capability to service any size order.
SECTION SCHEMATICS: It is very important to be aware of and participate with in-store schematics / plan-o-grams for grab-and-go categories. Even with Grab-and-Go sections it is key most times to have a designated spot for each product authorized in a store or chain of stores.
Grab and Go Coolers: Our partners can develop schematics to include key sub-category favorites such as prepared salads, sandwiches, produce snacks, fruit snacks, juices, desserts, kombucha, prepared foods and more.
Shelf Stable Grab and Go Sections: Same efforts as above but with a series of health snacks, beverages, bakery products, breakfast products, oatmeal cups, soup cups, salty snacks, shelf stable produce/fruit snacks and more.