Brokers – Facilitating the Difference

Time: Thursday, Oct 22nd from 9:15 - 10:15 AM (PST)

Location: SESSION 2

Speaker(s): Joe Wade - Provender Board of Directors & Broker; Rachel Evans - Sales Specialist, Maitri Marketing; Byrd Smith - Client Manager, Impact Group; Laurie Bock - Owner, Transformational Marketing; David Victor - Co-owner, Grass Roots Marketing

Brokers play a variety of different roles in bringing products to market and helping them to succeed. In this panel discussion, you will meet brokers from around Provender’s broker network who each have different areas of focus, but have in common the skill of matching your products (if you’re a manufacturer) with the right distribution and retail partners, or matching your product assortment (if you’re a retailer) with the right new products. The best broker is a matchmaker between several partners, resulting in a strengthening of what makes each business unique. Come learn how to get the most out of your broker relationship to help your independent business succeed.

Joe WadeJoe Wade – Joe has lived and worked in the field of natural foods since his college days in Atlanta GA. For many of the early years that was as a retailer in small shops and co-ops. Since relocating to the Seattle area in the late 70’s he’s also worked with large and small distributors, and with brokers – for a total of 40 years in the business and in the natural food community. He’s been a committed Provendarian for most of those years, staying in touch with friends and being inspired by many a Conference. He and his wife Annie (whom he met at the co-op) are now empty nesters, except for exchange students, and still in the Seattle area. 

Rachel Evans – Rachel has over 20 years of experience in the natural foods trade in many areas including as a staff member in PNW based independents and co-op grocers, as an owner of a small cafe, and as a broker representative for over 12 years. She currently work with Maitri Marketing, a PNW based small, boutique-style brokerage with a focus on health and beauty and mercantile products. The natural food industry is a lifestyle for Rachel, not just a job.  This is important to her for a healthy future and the sustainable future for her son and his generation.


Byrd Smith – Bryd is a client manager at Impact Group.  With 27 years in the food industry, he originally started his career at Kraft Foods. A Gulf War vet, Bryd’s hobbies include fishing, golf, exploring the PNW and spending time with his family and two poodles.




Laurie Bock – Laurie owns Transformations Marketing, and is a long time independent natural products sales representative.  .  She has been a distributor representative,   a trainer, educator, demo person and even a licensed esthetician.   She is passionate and committed to her work and to the natural foods industry. 



David Victor – David started out his professional career in Northern California working 10- years in various management positions in the Restaurant / Hospitality Industry. He then returned to college in the late 80’s and Graduated University of Oregon with Honors in Psychology and secured employment as a Mental Health Specialist for 12-years with Lane County Mental Health. David returned to his food & beverage roots in 2008 and worked for Advantage Sales and Marketing – Natural/Specialty Division calling on many key accounts in Oregon and was frequently ranked in the top 3 in sales for the West Coast.  After the recession of 2012 and realizing the difficulty for new innovative and local brands to retain representation in the Pacific NW Market, David partnered with Rody Oueis and created Grass Roots Marketing, LLC (GRM). GRM was established with an emphasis on supporting family-owned companies, creating family living waged employment for employees, and cultivating long term and mutually beneficial relationships with vendor, distributor, and retailer partners; and growing the sales of the brands we represent.

David is happily married to Tracy and has a 12-year old son, Aiden. They enjoy exploring the many wonders of the PAC NW in their RV, and when they are not working or attending school, they enjoy golfing, cycling, hiking, going to concerts and hanging out in the kitchen cooking great meals together.