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A1Supplements Sells Company to Gotham Cigars

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A1Supplements was one of the first supplement retailers in the industry long before Bodybuilding.com and many others got in the game. The website was created on June 1, 1999 after being in business for 10 years as a distributor to gyms and stores in Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. They're based in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is a shipping hub for 70% of the US population. With pressure from Amazon, iHerb and other online retailers, A1Supplements has been acquired by Gotham Cigars. We didn't see this coming but the move enables A1Supplements to take full advantage of the increase in online shopping we're seeing everywhere. In addition to greater efficiencies, the company's leadership is excited to use digital analytics to provide its suppliers with valuable consumer market data.

A1Supplements Founder and CEO Nick Saliba, who has worked on the business since 1997, is stepping away from his day-to-day responsibilities to give himself a well-deserved break. The new owner/CEO is Manny Balani, an experienced retail ecommerce executive who will apply the latest technologies to this landmark business, and provide valuable consumer buying insights to sports supplement manufacturers.

A1Supplements carries about 200 brands in approximately 500 categories with a loyal customer base because of their low prices, fast shipping and good customer service.

"After being in this business for 30 years, and proving that the impossible is possible, I was ready to pass the baton to this very impressive businessperson," says Saliba. "I'm excited about what lies ahead for Manny, the dietary supplements industry and most importantly for A1Supplements."

Saliba will continue with A1Supplements in an advisory capacity.

"His 30 years of experience in the supplements industry, and vendor relations he has built, are something you can't buy. His involvement is key to bringing the company to the next level," states Balani.

What Do Cigars Have To Do With Supplements?

Nothing! But having created and built Gotham Cigars to become a premier direct-to-consumer online retailer, Balani says A1Supplements is an ideal fit for his skills and knowledge. "We had been looking to expand by entering into an ancillary category with products that are lightweight, shippable, consumable and have a recurring revenue model...A1Supplements has a strong customer loyalty base and has always been a pioneer in the industry. There will be many quick wins as we maximize economies of scale."

Deeper Understanding of Customers

"Our industry partners will quickly see this value added benefit. We will apply a deeper level of analytics to A1's customer data to get a better understanding of their shopping habits. We want to know more about their demographics and why they are loyal, so that we can better personalize their shopping experience," says Balani. "We will share these consumer buying habit insights with our vendor partners who are supplying us with best-in-class products." 

Greater behind-the-scenes efficiencies: "Nick wore multiple hats on a daily basis. We're bringing the infrastructure of a team as well as automation and a streamlined process. Our distribution center, call center and management team will enable us to scale the company and accelerate its growth."

Balani and Saliba agree that A1Supplements is positioned well for growth. "Manny's expertise in ecommerce and his vision for the company will enable A1Supplements to tackle higher level wins," concludes Saliba.