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Testimonial: Lemon Perfect Water Brand

Bay Food Brokerage has been providing center store broker services to Lemon Perfect since April 2020. In less than two years, we’re proud to have played a role in the brand’s speedy launch and impressive growth in the Southeast. And, we’re especially grateful to Lemon Perfect’s Senior Director of Sales in the East, Dustin Canner, for sharing his perspective on our partnership in this blog post.

About Lemon Perfect

Lemon Perfect is a naturally refreshing, zero-sugar cold-pressed lemon water with hydrating electrolytes and essential antioxidants.

“We’re at the intersection of flavor and good-for-you,” Dustin said.

The brand, originally founded in California, is currently based in Atlanta.

The Opportunity: Southeast Retail Growth

By late 2019, start-up Lemon Perfect had recently transitioned from producing cold beverages to its existing shelf-stable enhanced water. And company leaders were looking to get the product into retail stores in the Southeast.

“Publix is the biggest retail player in the Southeast, and we needed someone who had a relationship with the Publix grocery department,” Dustin said.

The Solution: A Passionate Center Store Broker Partner

Lemon Perfect’s leadership recognized that working with the right partner that offered center store broker services was key to achieving their Southeast sales goals. A trusted industry partner recommended that Dustin meet with VP of Sales Gary Royal at Bay Food Brokerage.

“From the first minute I spoke to Gary, I could see his passion for our product,” Dustin said. “He took a ton of time to learn about the brand and raved about the product. It felt like having him in our corner would be like having another Lemon Perfect employee on board. He was that engaged.”

Dustin had first started talking to Bay Food Brokerage about their center store broker services in January 2020. By April 1, Lemon Perfect had engaged Bay Food as its Southeast broker representing the brand in Publix.

The Results: Product in 1,200+ Publix Stores in Six Weeks

Lemon Perfect sent Bay Food Brokerage the product sales sheets, and the center store broker team got to work. Within six weeks of Lemon Perfect’s introductory call with Bay Food, Publix had agreed to sell four SKUs of Lemon Perfect in all its 1,200-plus stores throughout the Southeast starting that May.

“It happened very quick, which is especially notable because it was at a time when the world was on edge with the pandemic,” Dustin said. “Gary was able to walk into Publix and share why he thought our product was a good fit for the Southeast consumer. The category team at Publix bought right in. To go into over 1,200 Publix stores right off the bat was kind of unheard of.”

As the brand’s Publix broker, the Bay Food team also worked closely with Lemon Perfect on its marketing plan to support retail sales.

“Gary specifically helped me put together a great trade marketing plan to support Publix and make sure the Publix consumer is trying our product and coming back and buying it in a big way,” Dustin said.

At the close of 2021, Lemon Perfect has experienced a 210% growth in sales over 2020.

The Experience: A Hands-On Partner

Dustin highlighted a few traits about Bay Food Brokerage that he thinks sets the company apart as a center store broker

“I think they do a great job of working with emerging brands,” Dustin said. “We’re a start-up brand, and Bay Food has held our hand through all phases of growth.”

This hands-on approach includes:

  • Monitoring Lemon Perfect’s week-over-week sales
  • Coordinating with its distributor
  • Keeping up with the operations team and inventory

“Working with Bay Food Brokerage has been fantastic,” Dustin said. “They have been great about handling everything we’ve thrown at them. Even through challenges, they’ve always had our back. If I had to give them a letter grade, it’s an A+.”

Looking for a center store broker partner in the Southeast? Contact us today to learn how we can help

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Team Member Spotlight: Gary Royal, VP of Sales

Our company recently expanded operations with the addition of a new division focused on consumer packaged goods (CPG). For over 27 years we’ve been known for our work with perishables, and now we’ve added “CPG broker” to our official resume. And at the helm of the Center Store Division is Vice President of Sales Gary Royal, who we’re proud to spotlight in this blog post.

Gary came to Bay Food Brokerage with more than two decades of experience in the specialty and natural food industry. He spent 15 years at KeHE Distributors, where he worked with many key retailers across the U.S. While at KeHE, he won numerous sales and leadership awards. Gary also created the Golfing for Kidz charity event to give back to less fortunate children.

Now, he oversees Bay Food Brokerage’s new Center Store Division and its team of account executives. Also, as a CPG broker, he oversees direct business for center store products, as well as any products that involve a food distributor.

Our Center Store Division works with food manufacturers of consumer package goods, such as non-perishable canned, boxed and bagged foods, and shelf-stable beverages. As a CPG broker, we act as the sales and marketing team for our center store clients. We partner with large retailers like Publix, Winn-Dixie, Harris Teeter and others, to sell their clients’ food products in their stores.

When asked why he decided to join our team at Bay Food Brokerage, Gary said:

“Bay Food Brokerage is a true Southeast broker, with very deep knowledge and relationships in this market and a strong investment in the community. We also provide more support to clients – with a large team of both account executives and support staff – than other brokerages I know. Our clients appreciate that commitment to doing what’s best for their business.”

Get to Know Gary, VP of Sales and CPG Broker


  • What are your hobbies?
  • Golfing and fishing.

  • What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
  • From 1999 to 2009, I relocated for work (with the same company) 8 times in 6 different states.

  • What’s your favorite food?
  • Tough question, and I can’t single out one. I enjoy BBQ, Mexican and Italian foods all about the same.

  • What was the first concert you attended?
  • Garth Brooks in Tampa, Florida.

  • What are some small things that make your day better?
  • A drive home with minimal traffic and no phone calls. Sometimes I just need that 45 minutes to unwind from the day and listen to music. Also, cooking/BBQ outside with friends and family.

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
  • I have always strived to “treat others how you would like to be treated.” I also learned at a young age that if I wanted to be successful in life, I’d have to be determined and dedicated to working hard. I also like to surround myself with great team members that have the same work ethic.

    When you work with our company, you become part of the Bay Food family! Contact us today to learn how we can help your team grow in the Southeast.

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