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Conventional broker increases natural footprint with acquisition

Impact Group continues its natural channel growth with the recent purchase of two regional sales and marketing agencies.

Impact Group’s recent acquisition of Wildfire Sales and Epic Natural Sales catapults the company as a national natural channel broker.

Boise, Idaho-based Impact purchased the companies earlier this month for an undisclosed amount. The Glen Cove, New York-based sales and marketing agencies connect brand clients such as Go Raw, Tera’s Whey, Torie and Howard, Once Again, Nona Lim and Rishi Tea with natural channel retailers in the Midwest and along the East Coast. The brokerages will retain their company names during a transition period.

Impact Group, best known for partnering with Kroger on its natural strategy and serving conventional brands, has been focused on diversifying and moving into natural for nearly 15 years.

"(It’s) no longer just a small category that people are paying attention to; it's if you're not in it, you’re in trouble,” said Impact Group President and CEO Carl Pennington.

The largest part of its business now sits in the natural and organic space, and most of the growth is coming via conventional retailers. Impact Group divisions also include center store and fresh.

“Being that we are heavily involved in both (conventional and natural) makes us a very attractive place to partner with CPG brands focused in that category,” Pennington said.

Part of the company’s growth has included acquisitions such as the recent deal. This is the company’s sixth purchase since 2016, when Impact Group turned up its expansion focus as a CI Capital Partners company. Other acquisitions have included HarlowHRK, New Connections and Mingerink & Associates.

Epic and Wildfire fit well with Impact, Pennington said, as they have long and established retailer relationships in natural and great tenure with natural brands. The cultures and visions, too, align with Impact’s. All employees will be retained.

Impact Group, founded in 1994 with 10 employees, has grown from 125 employees in 2012 to 645 today.

The company manages more than 700 CPG clients including naturals such as Organic Valley, Califia Farms, Amy’s and Pamela’s and conventionals including Mt. Olive, Blue Diamond Almonds and Hatch.

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