Get Your Product into Big M

Mr. Checkout is a network of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to over 35,000 independent stores around the country and have built relationships with hundreds of retail buyers. We are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

How To Get Into Big M

Big M, like all other supermarkets that offers goods such as; delicatessens, beverages, meat products, seafood and other grocery products. Big M also known as Big M Supermarkets, is a retail store that stands as a dominant competitor in the area of retail distribution. The Big M supermarket is a chain of grocery stores that operates in the states of New York and Pennsylvania. While some Big M Supermarkets are owned by independent private owners, others are run by P&C Foods.

Penn Traffic Co by C&S Wholesale Grocers is a parent company or holding company to P&C Foods. The other Big M stores operated by Penn Traffic Co became a daughter company to them, when those stores were bought by P&C Foods, Inc. in the late 1950 as part of its expansion process. The expansion rapidly continued that by 1969, there were already 50 Big M stores being managed by P&C Foods and around 1979, three more Big M stores were opened. The Big M continued spreading and by 1989, there were already seventy one Big M supermarkets being operated by P&C Foods.

Some Big M Supermarkets have been daughter companies under the control of C&S Wholesale Grocers for the past few years that it seemed as they may continue to carry these brands until Tops moved their own brands into the former Penn Traffic chains. Tops Markets is based in Williamsville, New York and operates under Bryant, Grand Union and Tops banners. In 2010, Tops Market already acquired 22 stores that year, twenty-one of them being Grand Union stores and one being a North Boston, New York store. That year, Tops bought Penn Traffic stores that were defunct at that time.

The level of degrade that the economy was faced with, made many retail distributors at that time to decide to close their stores with those decisions in place, acquisitions of smaller, often family owned, outfits increased. Tops Market seized the opportunity and acquired a lot of stores in order to expand its reach into central and northern New York areas. The retailer employed 15,000 plus associates with stores in Western Vermont, Northern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. Tops Markets LLC and the Farrugia family reached an agreement that enhanced their purchase of three Big M stores. These Big M supermarkets that the Tops-Farrugia family bought are located in Jordan, Mexico, and Elbridge, New York. The ad from these Big M stores control to carry Topco private labels Food Club and Paws for a long time. Although now, Big M now carries the Best Yet brands.

Big M as a retail distribution company remains as the largest chain of independent supermarkets in the state with some of the supermarkets located in the Twin Tiers region. These Big M stores are locally owned and managed in their respective towns although some formed a union and strategized their payment structure according to one would-be store. In addition, mainly O&Os but also in Charles Kuralt-friendly communities and Best Yet Markets, Big M became a sister company to Grand Union.

If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

Mr. Checkout is a national association of independent wagon-jobbers and full-line distributors. We distribute product to approximately 35,000 independent stores around the country and are always seeking the next hot new product. If you have a product, we want to hear from you!

How to get your product into Big M

  1. Understand you client: Before you spend a lot of time and money creating a product, you should know if anyone will want to buy it. Learn more about Market Research
  2. Learn if it’s protectable: Know if you can defend your product against cheap copies if it gets knocked off. Learn more about Copyright and Patent your product
  3. Test your product: Make sure that there’s a demand for your product and the customer understands what you are selling when it’s on the shelf and nobody is there to explain it. Learn more about Product Testing
  4. Perfect your pitch: Before you speak to decision makers, know your numbers, know your retailer and know your logistics in and out. Learn more about Pitching Your Product
  5. Don’t do it alone: If you haven’t been successful in retail before, a secret of success is that you can’t do it alone. Having great sales staff, customer support and marketing partners can take you from zero to success faster than if you tried on your own. Learn more about Retail Partnerships

Contact Big M Buyer

Do not trust any “list” of buyers.

Typically retail buyers change either companies or positions every few years. This strategy helps retailers know that their buyers are not taking “kick-backs” and are selecting the very best product for the very best position each time.

Buyers are typically held to a very rigorous standard of sell-through volume that they must hit and because of this they are risk averse. Your job as a supplier or vendor is to convince them that the buyers going into the stores not only know about what you’re selling but are actively seeking the product in the store currently.

  • Step 1

    Contact Big M Buyer

    Sometimes easier said than done, however you must get on Big M’s radar.

    Call the Big M’s corporate phone number and ask for the names of the buyer and assistant buyers in your category.

    Always leave voicemail with whomever the dispatch will connect you.

    Use that information to connect with them on LinkedIn, RangeMe and any other professional social platform.

    Ask your representative at your trade bureau to connect you to the Big M buyers as they will potentially have a better history.

  • Step 2

    Get On Big M’s Radar

    Use advertising, public relations and marketing to make your brand known to Big M’s buyer through 3rd party websites & industry media sources.

    Be everywhere that they look, the key is to position your brand as the obvious choice when Big M is looking to either refill a slot or create a new category.

    Latch on to the news of the day and any trend that will make your product fill that niche whether that be Non-GMO or Vegan Leather for example.

    Investing in your brand can only benefit your opportunities in the future. As being “top of mind” will have a ripple effect when you physically present your product at a Big M buyers meeting or trade show in the future.

    Step 2

  • Step 3

    Use Hard Facts

    Big M buyers typically got to their position by picking “winners” and know how to see through the fluff.

    Focus on the numbers, know your bottom dollar during a negotiation and how fees and chargebacks may cut into your position.

    Know that long term success may outweigh short term sales, however financing large purchase orders from Big M when the net result is negative is not sustainable.

    Understand the playing field and the other brands that are in your space, what they are offering as promotion and pricing and how you can stand out against them.

    By knowing that each buyer at Big M probably knows more than you do, take an active listening approach to sales and understand that no is a perfectly acceptable answer that may have saved you millions of dollars on the backend.

How to Submit a Product to Big M

There are several ways to get a product placed in Big M. However, most entrepreneurs only dream about getting their product distributed to major retailers, few actually do it. We have experienced a significant rise in interest since the show Shark Tank started airing on NBC. Mr. Checkout has had the pleasure of working with a few Shark Tank success stories such as KISStixx and 180 Party Cups which are now currently being distributed around the country to stores like Walmart, Target, Kroger, 7-Eleven and more.

If you envision your product would be a good fit for Big M, we have a few steps to help you get your product on their shelves.

Here are the 6 steps you need to take to have your product placed in Big M .

1. Start with the right questions.) Before you try distributing your product to Big M, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. Do you need to build demand for your product, or is there already a demand for it? Do you know that Big M would be interested in selling your product? If you can strike a deal with Big M, can you handle the production volume? Do you want to sell directly to Big M, or do you want to license your product to a manufacturer that will handle distribution?

2. Be prepared to profit.) Does your product offer enough of a profit margin for Big M? Can you sell your product at a reasonable enough profit to cover the packaging, shipping, commissions, marketing and wholesale distribution? Check Big M’s guidelines for other fees that you will have to build into the cost of your product in order for you to be able to turn enough of a profit to make the effort worth your while. If you work with a discount retailer, they will try to strip your profits down to zero in order to keep their prices as low as possible.

The typical breakdown of margins are: If a products costs $1 to produce, that product will retail for $4. That product that retails for $4 will wholesale for $2 to distributors and stores that purchase direct. Big box retailers like Big M may offer to pay $1.25 to the manufacturer if the product costs $1 to produce. That is the typical profit margin.

3. Determine if Big M is the right store for your product.) The relationship between you and Big M starts with you browsing their store for competing products. If Big M already has a similar product, it is going to be very difficult to get your product picked up. Spend some time at your local Big M to see what kind of products they are selling, speak to the manager and see if he thinks your product will sell well in their store. Picture in which zone your product would best fit on the shelf and keep in mind that the most precious asset that these big box stores value are their shelf space. Keep this information in mind when you are preparing your presentation to Big M.

If your company is minority or women owned, check Big M’s website and see if they offer specific opportunities for those designations.

4. Pitch your product to Big M. Decide whether it will be you or a representative to present your product to Big M. Your presentation depends heavily on your strengths as a businessperson as they will most likely ask financial questions and logistics questions.

It’s common for companies to hire a broker to pitch their product to Big M, as it will be more likely that your product will make it to the next stage if the individual pitching your product has industry knowledge or a personal relationship with Big M. The percentage of commission verses, however generally a broker will take around 5% to represent your product to Big M.

We at Mr. Checkout have experience dealing with brokers and know that there are several retail brokers that have poor business practices that can potentially damage your brand. If you are seeking a legitimate Big M broker, please give us a call for a recommendation. It could save you a huge headache and a lot of money.

5. Complete the required Big M paperwork.) Often Big M will have you go through an application process. However, before submitting the paperwork required by Big M, you should contact a buyer at Big M and let them know your intentions. Having a contact inside of the company will potentially move your application more smoothly through the process.

6. Anticipate the need for increased volume.) Having Big M agree to stock your product will most likely mean a significant increase in volume. You should be prepared to ramp up your production and informing your manufacturer of this opportunity.

Having production, logistics and distribution to sync is not only difficult, it requires a significant amount of time invested in customer relations. Also, Big M may have stipulations in the contract that may penalize you for delays in shipping and production. Have an attorney explain all contracts to you if you don’t understand the terms.

If you’re looking to sell your product to Big M, be sure to thoroughly assess the marketplace, carefully prepare for production growth, and take full advantage of resources available to help you grow your business.

Submit Your Product Now

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