Chapter 3; Non Food Products

The Story Behind the Products; Chapter 3 by Gary Cohen

In 1989, I started brokering natural foods after having spent 10 years as a natural food distributor. By the mid-90s, I was brokering 25 different product lines.

One of my customers had been a buyer at a natural food store we serviced as a distributor in the 80s. I made an appointment to see her and showed her samples of the lines I represented: chips, bars, pasta sauce, and a few other things. She turned them all down.

So I said, “We have known each other for a long time. What do YOU want to buy? Tell me, and I will go get it for you.”

She replied, “You really want to know what I want to buy?”

I said, “Yes.”

Toilet paper,” she replied.

Toilet paper?” I asked.

She said, “yes.” She rattled off quite a list; “I need toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, trash bags, plastic wrap. All that kind of stuff.” She told me that it was hard for her to get products like that from her commercial grocery distributor because of their small volume.

So I went out and sourced all of that. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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