Mark Van Wyk’s expertise in the confectionary industry prompted him to found Van Wyk Confections, a Castle Rock, Colorado-based candy company, with his family in 2000. In recent years, Van Wyk Confections has evolved by developing unique products and leveraging its expertise in sales and distribution to make its way onto the shelves of big-box retailers. Read on to find out how this industry veteran leveraged RangeMe to get his nimble, family-run candy company onto the shelves of Ahold USA’s grocery chains in less than five months.
A Nostalgic Treat
In the past five years, the creators behind Van Wyk’s Sweet & Salty Pretzel RODS have perfected the chocolate-dipped treat. With a variety of whimsical flavor combinations in individual packaging, Van Wyk’s Sweet & Salty Pretzel RODS tout themselves as a lower-calorie alternative to a candy bar.
“This product brings back a lot of memories for people, especially during the holidays, as they recall hand-making chocolate pretzels with loved ones,” says Seth Van Wyk, sales director at Van Wyk Confections.
To garner interest from buyers, the team at Van Wyk Confections followed a standard protocol when it came to sales: cold calls, trade shows, and samples. Drawn in by RangeMe’s retailer partnerships, Van Wyk’s joined the platform in hopes of connecting with a network of buyers they couldn’t access through previous channels.
“The ability to highlight our brand and get product information in front of key buyers is ideal,” Van Wyk states, “RangeMe has allowed us to get in touch with buyers that we did not have access to before.”
Trusting the Process
Ahold-Delhaize is an international retail group that operates supermarkets and e-commerce businesses across the east coast and uses RangeMe for product discovery. When Van Wyk’s Sweet & Salty Pretzel RODS received a sample request from an Ahold buyer in the deli category, the initial experience of sending out samples was one that Van Wyks Confections was accustomed to. As for the process of getting the item in-store through the RangeMe introduction, the connection was unparalleled.
Typically it’s a six to 12-month time frame, but thanks to the assistance of our buyer, our product was ready and live on shelves within four months.”
“Our buyer from Ahold became the driving force behind getting the Pretzel RODS into Giant Food and Stop & Shop supermarket chains on the East coast. Typically it’s a six to 12-month time frame, but thanks to the assistance of our buyer, our product was ready and live on shelves within four months,” explains Seth Van Wyk.
As the line between snacks and confections blur, Van Wyk Confections is presented with a unique opportunity to test product placement for their sweet and savory treat. Having placed the product in deli, snack, and candy categories and in numerous places throughout a store, the placement puzzle was nothing new for Van Wyks Confections. When it comes to working with an item that fits into multiple categories, industry veteran Mark Van Wyk’s approach is straightforward: “We rely on the expertise of the buyer. They have a better understanding of the category and know what sells best where in their stores.” For Ahold’s Stop & Shop and Giant Food markets, the deli counter became the perfect location to house Van Wyk’s Sweet & Salty Pretzel RODS’ display box.
A Sweet Future
Getting discovered on RangeMe and landing their product in Giant Food and Stop & Shop Stores has geared Van Wyk Confections up for success in the new year. The RangeMe Verified™ brand has ramped up production and distribution capabilities for 2018, as they continue to expand their business and accommodate big-box retailers. In addition, Van Wyk Confections is set to extend their product line and showcase the new indulgences on RangeMe in the coming months.