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+.”