Minnesota firm acquires retail brokerage in Bentonville, strengthening connections with Walmart, Sam’s Club

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,580 views 

Select Sales Inc., a prominent retail sales and marketing agency based in Minnesota, has acquired Bentonville Merchants (BMI), a sales agency serving Walmart and Sam’s Club brands. The two privately held companies announced details of the merger Wednesday (June 21).

The merged entity will operate under the names of both predecessor companies. Bentonville Merchants has nine employees who will all transfer to the Select Sales parent company.

According to a news release, the consolidation establishes a new company that facilitates connections between manufacturers and leading American retailers.

Financial terms were not disclosed. However, the merged company anticipates generating new jobs and fostering additional growth for both divisions and the company’s Target-focused subsidiary, Juniper Partners.

Founded in 1978, Select Sales is a sales and marketing omnichannel company calling on Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Menards and many other regional accounts.

Tom Derouin, president of Select Sales, expressed enthusiasm for the merger, highlighting its significance for manufacturers seeking efficient and effective distribution channels through major retailers.

“Most agencies in our industry are fundamentally regional and cannot offer their clients a one-stop ability to call on a range of top-tier retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Sam’s Club,” he said. “Our experience is that sales and marketing teams must have the people and offices in the markets where the retailers are headquartered. A local team dedicated to serving a local retailer develops strong relationships and truly understands each retailer’s objectives and values at every level, from the strategic all the way down to the products that they sell.

“By merging with BMI, we’ve created a company built around that approach.”

Cody Tedford founded Bentonville Merchants in 2015. Shayne Smith and Jonas Dunnaway joined the firm later as partners.

Tedford shared the excitement of joining forces with Select Sales. He stressed the need for better data, more effective marketing strategies, faster insights, and stronger supply chains in an increasingly competitive retail industry.

“This new partnership provides the perfect platform for these businesses to accelerate their growth while adding value to the retailers,” Tedford said. “We work daily with the teams at Walmart.com, Walmart Stores and Sam’s Club; we’re confident this merger supports their vision of helping people save money and live better lives.”

The merger represents Select Sales’ second strategic transaction of 2023. In January, the company announced its acquisition of Vertical Rail, a California digital advertising and marketing agency. The Vertical Rail acquisition enhanced Select Sales’ capacity to promote partner products at key retailers, including within its Amazon division.

Derouin highlighted that both transactions align with key business objectives and exemplify the adaptability of forward-leaning manufacturers’ representatives in response to the evolving omnichannel retail industry.

“Vertical Rail already supports advertising initiatives for Walmart.com, and they are excited for the opportunity to offer their services to additional clients,” he said. “Our merger with BMI is a horizontal combination that broadens our reach for those manufacturers and helps our retail partners source the products that their customers want.”