C store distributors can be a chore to find, but it is absolutely necessary if a manufacturer wants to get their product into the hands of customers. Distributors take care of the messy aspects of selling and shipping to convenience stores. Convenience store distributors can be found in trade associations, or through word of mouth. You can even find a few of them on Google, but nothing substantial. It is rare to find a fully comprehensive database of convenience store wholesale distributors and when one does find a list like this, it will be expensive and will not include buyer’s names, or addresses. That is unless one visits http://www.cstoredistributors.com where the ever growing database costs much less than any other databases available. Trust me when I tell you that there is nothing out there that covers all of the c store distributors in the U.S.
The only less expensive way to go is to do this is to somehow do the leg work yourself and get all of the contact information without the help of a database. This takes at least 10 years of being in the trade, attending all the tradeshows and becoming a savvy marketing guru. You will need to have skill with words, passion behind a product, and a bit of luck and not to mention time! C store distributors can be found online, but oftentimes they will have their true contact information hidden behind a lot of forms and secretaries instructed to pass along messages. Sending emails is a little more substantial, but again, it will require proper wording and luck. Being able to say truthfully that a product has the potential for huge volume production will help the sales process. Just remember, to keep on sending the inquiries even if no replies are received. The first will lead to more. Never give up! For every 20 no’s there is a yes. Being persistent is huge in this industry. When my partner and I first launched our product we heard no on every conversation, but we kept calling and sending samples and eventually they would say YES! My partner and I ended up selling 3 million units of our product in less than four years.
Some websites will include their c store distributors on their websites. The more popular companies will not risk the junk mail that can be incurred and will have a dedicated message box for all new inquiries. To get around this process, cstoredistributors.com has the direct contact information for the distributors of over 1000 different companies. It is important when utilizing this database that the message is clear and concise. Distributor’s eyes will gloss over after the first few sentences. There is only that long to draw the continued attention of the distributor to complete the sales pitch.