Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 38


HALL OF FAME PROFILE: TONY DUNNING

Then off to college.
DUNNING: I started at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln but transferred out to the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus for
Criminal Justice.
But after my sophomore year, I went into
business with a focus in finance and that just
really resonated. I'd been thinking about being a stockbroker, but the idea of people giving a 22-year-old $100,000 to invest ... well,
it was becoming pretty apparent that wasn't
going to happen.
What ended up getting me into the CPG
space was that after my junior year, I was approached about selling cable TV packages. I
made a lot of money, but mainly it was a great
learning experience through door-to-door
sales.
How did you arrive at your first job?
DUNNING: A friend told me about an awesome company, the Gallo Winery, and it
sounded interesting. I had an interview with
them and everything just resonated. So it was
off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to start my career. I
ended up staying with Gallo for 16 years, in
field sales the entire time, with the last seven
years being in Bentonville, Arkansas.
How did you find your way to Northwest
Arkansas?
DUNNING: Laws were being passed that
would allow Gallo to sell Bartles & Jaymes
in grocery stores. I had to put a new distribution network together that was going to
be uniquely different because we'd be going
through beer distributors instead of wine/liq38

y SHOPPER MARKETING MAY 2016

uor distributors. Our CEO, Joseph Gallo, who
is the son of one of the founders, Ernest, came
in for the final interviews of the new distributors we'd lined up. At this meeting he also told
us that he wanted to put somebody down in
Bentonville to focus on Walmart and Sam's.
Now this was pretty forward thinking back in
1993 as Walmart was maybe just a $50 billion
company at that point.
Unbeknownst to me, he also thought that
I was the right guy to go down there. He
knew I was a small town Nebraska kid and
had moved around a lot already. But I'm up in
Kansas City, married, with a young child, and
we had to have quite a few "What are we doing?" conversations.
But it turned out to be a phenomenal experience in Bentonville with the Walmart and
Sam's folks - and the business just went crazy.
We ended up living there for 17 years.
You were able to observe Walmart's
dramatic transformation up close, right?
DUNNING: That was the beauty of our timing.
Gallo was the category captain for wine and
liquor at Walmart and, at the time, our brands
were a dead-on match with the Walmart consumer. Bartles & Jaymes was among the first
forays into single-serve opportunity with wine
coolers and quickly became number one. The
intention was to get people to understand
how to drink wine in an easy fashion: single
serve, light, fruity ... on the sweeter side of
things.
But then it took on a life of its own. Everything we did just exploded the category and,
of course, Walmart's business.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shopper Marketing - May 2016

Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - Intro
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 1
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 2
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 3
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 5
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 6
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 7
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 8
Shopper Marketing - May 2016 - 9
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