The very first brand we worked with as a full-fledged broker was Macro Vegetarian. When you are a new broker, it helps to start with a great-selling product, and Macro Vegetarian blew away all expectations of what we had in mind. It really helped grow our retailer and distributor network to unexpected levels. We are forever grateful for the partnership we forged with Macro; below is a small snippet of the growth we experienced together.
We were looking for a specific type of product when we first met Charlie, the owner of Macro Vegetarian. One of our vendors suggested visiting him to see if he could help with our request, but unfortunately, he could not fulfill it. He was kind enough to offer us something to eat while we talked in the warehouse. He gave us some vegan dumplings to taste; we could not believe it; we were in awe of the product and soon realized the potential in front of us. After a long time of convincing, Charlie agreed to give us a shot, and what an incredible journey it has been.
When we met Macro Vegetarian they were already selling to Whole Foods Market locally, we took it and expanded everywhere except the West Coast (because of shelf life). We dominated the vegan choices in the salad bars and the grab-and-go areas, selling between $3000 to $6000 weekly in each of the larger stores.
One of the sales markers that really changed the business was when we brought Macro Vegetarian into Alberts Organics. We not only cut a deal with Alberts to take over much of the smaller and some of the larger deliveries to our current business, but they introduced Macro to many of their current accounts, expanding its reach significantly. We also cut a deal with them, allowing Macro to purchase much of their organic produce from Albert Organics, a partnership that still exists to this very day.
Both through distribution and direct, we brought Macro into almost every college in the North East. Yale, Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Brown, Tuffs, you name it we brought them into the colleges. Frankly, it was an easy sell, the college kids love the vegan choices we brought them. Macro Vegetarian was the perfect campus product.
We then expanded into more food service accounts by selling to Compass, Sodexo, Aramark, and some other smaller food service companies. Remember, Macro had around 60 SKUs, and the chefs loved the wide varieties we could bring to the table. We were in Madison Square Garden, Credit Suisse, First Boston, American Express, Mastercard, and the list goes on, keep in mind this was also allowing us to add new vendors to our growing portfolio of products.
This brings us to Big Sky Natural (bought by Nassau Candy). They played a significant role in the growth of the company, especially Bruce Birenbaum, who really was one of the best sales reps we have ever worked with and still work with today. You can read more of his contributions on the sales rep page. We have dedicated a case study to him; one of the things he did was cut a deal with Sysco distribution to use them as a delivery service to ship the products to Whole Foods markets in the Midwest. Still today, he is performing miracles.
This brings us to another milestone; we cut a deal with 7-Eleven. In the initial test rollout, the sales were so good that the company wanted to find out more about Macro, and wanted a large rollout. We worked with RLB Distribution (purchased by Fresh-Pro Foods), which gave the brand conventional street creed for us to approach other convenience stores, with data proving that Macro Vegetarian vegan plant-based food was ready for prime time in convenience stores.
One of the significant milestones for Macro Vegetarian was when we did the Expo East Trade Show. We had so many buyers lining up to speak to us; vendors and buyers were enjoying taking lunch and dinner at our booth. The business grew even further and increased our brokerage contact base, and established Macro Vegetarian as the leading perishable vegan brand in the natural products industry, thanks to Expo East.
OTG Management owns and runs many retail locations in airports all across the country. When we rolled out Macro in their locations, we received calls from all over the country. The sales were great, and they were a great advertising vehicle that promoted the brand nationally in most states, except for the West Coast because of the 7-week shelf life. So it is a great company to get your brand known.
When we met Macro Vegetarian, they had just moved from a 2,000 square foot warehouse to an 11,000 square foot warehouse with the sales we had brought them. They soon quickly outgrew the facility, and taking no chances, they purchased a 100,000 square foot warehouse, and spent over 3 million dollars on solar panels to keep it eco-friendly. It is now the largest perishable vegan dedicated warehouse on the East Coast. It has been quite a ride!