Lamar Letts, an undergraduate student at Northeastern University in Boston, had developed a vitamin water drink in response to his needs as a high school student athlete in Brooklyn, NY. Due to heart disease, Lamar could not use the vitamin waters that were on the market. On his own, he developed a better tasting, lower calorie alternative. In trying to sell this product commercially, Lamar faced the challenge of how to distribute the product. One of the toughest challenges for an entrepreneur with a new product is trying to reserve retail shelf space. Although Lamar had been successful in placing his product on the shelf in several retail outlets that he could service directly himself, he was having difficulty finding wholesalers to expand his distribution. He was in a catch-22: Retailers were not interested until he had wholesalers to partner with, while wholesalers were uninterested until he had retail traction. In 2017, Lamar finally found a midlevel wholesaler who was interested in carrying his product. Lamar realized that if he signed with the wholesaler he would need to scale up his company quickly, which most likely would require raising money. Lamar must decide whether he is ready to change his organization to take advantage of his multiyear effort to find wholesalers.
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