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Meet Ryan Meczyk of Norman Distribution

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Meczyk.

Ryan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ever since I was a kid, I always had the entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 2008, I started my first company in the intermodal and transportation
sector.

After gaining a vast amount of experience and successfully scaling that business, I had the opportunity to start Norman Distribution. Without any CPG or retail experience, we discovered a market demand for an agile distributor that could supply better-for-you snacks, beverages, and grocery products to the Chicago market and surrounding regions. Nine years later, we are one of the leading full-service distributors in the Midwest selling to major chains across all segments/channels.

Beyond Norman, with several major brand launches from concept to full scale, we founded a CPG accelerator that partners with startup CPG companies. In exchange for our experience, expertise, and market access, we take a vested interest in startup brands to assist in their strategy and development.

The business has really evolved into a vertical platform where we have the ability to incubate brands in the Midwest and once proven successful, scale them throughout the rest of the country. We are now opening a new facility in Las Vegas, as we’ve identified a need in that particular market, which will enhance our West Coast presence and visibility.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not in the slightest bit! Our journey has been far from smooth. From extreme barriers of entry to overall difficulty in running an operationally intense business, there isn’t an easy day that goes by.

I firmly believe that success isn’t a straight path, nor should it be. Instead of fighting these struggles, we welcome failure and embrace our losses. We use them as a learning tool to better our companies as they provide invaluable lessons and insights. We have taken some pretty serious hits over the years, but only to come back stronger in every situation.

Please tell us about Norman Distribution.
Norman Distribution is a full-service distributor that works with brands to introduce unique, healthy, and better-for-you snack, beverage, and grocery options to retailers and operators throughout the Midwest.  We work with brands of all sizes across multiple stages of development and currently service all channels of trade. As a company, I would say that we pride ourselves on our reliability, flexibility, and personability. This has led to strong relationships not only with our customers but with our vendors as well.

While we’re in the business of selling and delivering products to retailers, we are much more than a delivery mechanism which has really set us apart from our competition.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I’ll keep this simple and in order as follows… unparalleled work ethic, surrounding yourself with like-minded people that share in your vision and drive, embracing failure, and a good business model. As an entrepreneur, if you can fit that mold, you’ll achieve what you set out to create.

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