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Watch: Exploring Distribution Options with Jeremy Isenberg

Carol Ortenberg

As the retail landscape becomes more crowded, having the right distributor is key to a brand’s success– especially during a brand’s formative years. Navigating whether to go broad and expand across the country, or view distribution with a narrow, regional focus can be confusing and challenging for newcomer entrepreneurs.

At NOSH Live Summer 2017 earlier this month, Jeremy Isenberg, President Chex Finer Foods, explained that both models have their place. “There’s different strokes for different folks,” Isenberg told the crowd. “Both [types of distribution] are going to get you down the road, they just are going to give you a little different ride.”

Isenberg reflected on the history of distribution, as well as looked forward at what the future of distribution may hold. Speaking less than a week before the announcement of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market, Isenberg touched upon how the natural product retailer’s role has shifted in just the past few years. It’s an evolution that will likely continue with the blockbuster news of its acquisition.

“There have been more changes in this landscape in the last two years then probably in the last twenty. Back then, life was a lot simpler… you get into Whole Foods…and everything just falls [into place] from there,” Isenberg noted. “That’s a lot of how brands started. [Whole Foods] helped make the markets and with its regional structure it was very easy to be very nimble and get on your way. I think today, it’s a little bit more complicated, but yet it also creates a lot more opportunities.”

Isenberg also discussed ways in which distributors can help brands and how brands can set reasonable expectations for their distributor. His biggest piece of advice: “Be prepared, be patient and — as my wife always says — pack snacks.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Isenberg’s thoughts on different distribution models and the ways in which brands can find success.

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