Seeking to help brands survive and thrive on the shelf, emerging brand incubator L.A. Libations has launched Relentless Trade Solutions, a new “spinoff” merchandising company which will service all CPG categories.
Relentless launched in Southern California in March and has since expanded throughout the state and plans to expand to the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Las Vegas by the end of the year, according to L.A. Libations CEO Danny Stepper. If growth continues on pace, he said, Relentless will scale nationwide next year.
“Relentless really compliments L.A. Libations in many ways,” Stepper said. “Many brands approach us to work with them and Relentless acts as an entry point to get on our radar and for us to start working with them. Ideally a few brands will graduate into bigger strategic partnerships, [and] a couple already have like Positive Beverage and Limitless.”
Stepper said he views L.A. Libations’ relationships with brands as strategic partnerships, where Relentless is a larger, for hire business that services beverages, food, and other non-food products. The company currently works with the entire L.A. Libations beverage portfolio — which includes brands such as Aloe Gloe and Cave Shake — as well as larger Coke-owned brands including Zico.
Former L.A. Libations chief customer officer Wade Duke is leading Relentless as its CEO, alongside longtime Coca-Cola Company veteran Robert Macias as President.
“Once a product gets authorized at the chain level, that’s about 90 of the 100 yards that you need to make a brand successful,” Duke told BevNET. “So we take it that last 10 yards, which is really the hardest part, and we make sure that the product is on the shelf, that it’s tagged, that it is priced properly, and we find opportunities for off shelf display areas and to expand the shelf presence for each brand. If it wasn’t for us doing that it was not going to happen.”
Macias told BevNET that the company currently has eight full time employees located throughout California, including in San Diego, southern Orange County, Orange County, Inland Empire, South Bay, Metro Los Angeles, the San Fernando and San Clarita Valleys, Ventura, and San Francisco. The company is currently seeking a new hire for the San Jose region. Macias added that he has modeled Relentless’ internal routing system after Coca-Cola distribution routing strategies and plans around strategic zip codes, particularly those with high profile retail chains like Bristol Farms and Whole Foods.
Relentless also offers business consultation services, Macias said, noting that he is in frequent discussions with companies in order to educate new entrepreneurs on the retail market.
“Brand owners think they have an invention that’s going to be marketed in the stores and it’s going to fly off the shelves,” Macias said. “Little do they know it’s an art form once you get in the stores, getting the right location, finding the sweet spot for your brand, to figure out which off shelf quadrants you want the product, making sure it is not only in stock, but in an eye to thigh position.”