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It started with saltines.

In the late 1950s in St. Louis, selling cookies and crackers store-to-store wasn′t a glamorous job.  But the people along the way made it worthwhile.  For nearly three decades, Ron Travers climbed Nabisco′s corporate ladder to become a Regional Vice President of Sales.

In the early eighties, Nabisco was acquired by Standard Brands and later by RJR Tobacco Company and Ron found himself downsized.  At a crossroads, he thought about the people he had met in his career and the relationships forged.   Upon that foundation, he decided to build his own company with the goal of marketing great brands, interacting with food brokers and retailers, and coordinating in-store services with experienced people.

And just like that, the company now known as Premium Retail Services was born.

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1985 | NBSN is born.

Food brokers and manufacturers like Nabisco often employ strong in-store teams.  Unfortunately, operating costs for these teams are high and the lack of regular work prevents them from delivering with consistency.

Companies without their own teams servicing products in stores rely on busy retailers to perform this work, again leading to less than ideal in-store conditions.

From this imbalance, Ron developed a simple but unique business model.  He formed a company to act as the bridge between food manufacturers and food brokers.  Ron orchestrated reliable, quality merchandising by strategically deploying people to do merchandising work in markets nationwide for Fortune 500 companies like Nabisco, General Mills, Gillette, Wrigley and more.

He called his new company National Brokers Service Network (NBSN).

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1988 | Investing in success.
For its first several years, NBSN was a one man operation.  Conservatively investing in the company out of his own pocket, Ron operated the business out of a bedroom in his suburban St. Louis home.  But NBSN began to grow more rapidly than anticipated, and Ron decided the time was right to expand by hiring an assistant and setting up shop in a small, leased office space.

NBSN soon finds its first “official” home in a modest, 225 square foot office space above a Walgreens store in Ellisville, Missouri.

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1989 | A Premium rebrand.
Recognizing a growing trend at retail, Ron transitioned his business model from a network of independent brokers to that of a full-service retail merchandising company.  With this new model, he could ensure consistency by employing his own workforce.  From training to performance management, Ron was now more directly invested in success.

With a renewed focus and a fresh business model, Ron renamed NBSN Premium Retail Services.  Use of the word “Premium” was a respectful nod to the flagship saltine crackers Ron represented for so many years while at Nabisco.

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1990 | A family business.
As Premium’s growth accelerated, Ron began to seek additional help at headquarters.  Fresh from graduating from Creighton University, son Brian Travers joined his father at the helm of Premium.

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1991 | Expanding our horizons.
To truly expand, Ron realized the need to hire field operations professionals to complement the headquarters team’s efforts.  These first Field Managers would recruit, staff and manage projects, providing client reports and much more.

This model of field management gave Premium direct control in the planning and execution of assignments would largely inform the way the company operates today.

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1995 | Building a better team.
One of Premium’s key differentiators and quality control measures took root as all Premium employees nationwide became full W2 employees.   Looking to further accelerate the company’s growth, Ron and Brian began investing in Premium’s long-term strategy by hiring the company’s first full-time marketing and business development leaders.

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1996 | Strengthening family ties.
Ron’s youngest son Kevin Travers graduated from Creighton University and joined his father and brother Brian at Premium headquarters, further cementing Premium as a family owned and operated business.  Ron separated oversight of the business between his sons naming Brian Travers VP of Sales and Kevin Travers VP of Operations.

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1997 | Big opportunities.
Brown & Williamson Tobacco needed a proven service company to install fixtures in over 60,000 retail locations within a tight execution window.  They chose Premium, setting in motion the largest project for the company to date.  Another major Brown & Williamson project followed, again with exceptional results.  Flush with new revenue, Premium hired Jeff Schremp as Chief Financial Officer to ensure continued financial prudence.

This project also drove the company to innovate with its first interactive voice response system and the beginnings a reporting solution that would later come to be known as QTrax.

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1998 | Leveraging technology.
QuickTrax – now known as QTrax – was developed in-house to help manage and provide reports for the early Brown & Williamson projects.  Shortly thereafter, its efficiencies were applied to a variety of other client projects.  As paper-based reporting waned, Premium began to use IVR and QTrax to understand project status, allocate proper resources and provide client reports.

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2000 | At a crossroads.
After 12 years of remodels and build outs, Premium officially outgrew its small headquarters.  In the spring, the company expanded to a larger facility on Spirit 40 Park Drive in Chesterfield, Missouri, and promptly lost 80% of its business as Brown & Williamson unexpectedly discontinued their installation program.

At a critical juncture in the company’s history, Brian Travers challenged everyone to help fill the void left by Brown & Williamson to avoid downsizing.  By year’s end, Premium’s revenue would exceed that of prior years.  It became apparent to all that this was a company built to last.

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2002 | 1,000,000 annual store visits.
In 2002, Premium exceeded 1,000,000 annual store visits for the first time in its 17 year history.  Many of those visits were courtesy of a burgeoning partnership between Premium and one of the company’s biggest long-term clients:  Best Buy.

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2004 | Customer service, front and center.
As Premium’s client list continued to grow, the company saw a trending need for call center capabilities, opening our Retail Contact Center.  With inbound and outbound capabilities along with multimedia touchpoints, Premium built the call center to respond to the needs of our field representatives, store associates and customers, further broadening our list of retail service offerings.

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2006 | A new day at 618 Spirit.
After more than 20 years of hard work and dedication, Ron Travers transitioned the company into the hands of sons Brian and Kevin in 2006.  Now 50/50 owners of Premium, Brian and Kevin were also co-Presidents.  In an effort to maintain a broad perspective on the business and to keep things fresh, Brian transitioned from sales into President of the Operations Group.  Kevin transitioned from operations into a role as President of Sales and Marketing.

Again, Premium invested in its growth by building out a recruitment team.  And again, the company outgrew its home office and purchased its current headquarters at 618 Spirit Drive in Chesterfield, Missouri.

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2007 | Strategic growth:   Bentonville & Assisted Sales
Seeking to deepen its relationship with Walmart, Premium opened its Bentonville, Arkansas, office just 10 minutes away from Walmart headquarters.  Strategically, Walmart was not the only priority.  Premium also began to invest heavily in assisted sales as a service offering in 2007, largely in tandem with our many consumer electronics retailer and manufacturer partners.

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2008 | Premium Retail Solutions.
Diversification is critical and Premium expanded its offerings into the home center arena by partnering with two former Home Depot executives – Tom Armstrong and Winston Ledet – to form Premium Retail Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia in early 2008.  The Solutions group provides home channel strategy, consumer insights, retail analytics, business development and more.

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2010 | VOLT Systems.
With a rock solid infrastructure and more than 25 years of retail expertise, Premium formed VOLT Systems.  VOLT is focused on retail technology, providing answers to common in-store challenges ranging from vendor time spent in store to training and much more.  Flagship product VOLT (Vendor Online Tracking) was adopted by Best Buy to more effectively track second and third party labor representatives working in stores.

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2011 | SPARC and Premium Productions.
Walmart sought a partner to help improve on-shelf availability by effectively training, certifying and badging third party representatives to more effectively use Walmart store systems.  From a crowded field of prospects they chose SPARC (Supplier Portal Allowing Retail Coverage), custom-built by Premium’s VOLT Systems division.

Training is also a key offering of Premium Productions, Premium’s in-house multimedia production studio.  Launched in 2011, Premium Productions produces high quality videos and multimedia content designed to educate, train and inform Premium representatives and our clients.

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2012 | Winning with household brands.

After more than a decade with another provider, Samsung chose Premium to act as their primary field marketing partner for their home and mobile electronics, information technology and home appliances.  Every day, Premium’s Samsung Field Marketing Organization engages customers in stores nationwide, educating them on the features and benefits of Samsung’s incredible products.

Procter & Gamble’s pet division – including brands such as Eukanuba, Innova, Iams and others – also chose Premium to build and deploy a Pet Ambassador program designed to educate pet owners on the best foods to choose for their furry pals.

Premium Canada Headquarters

 

2014 | Premium’s expansion to the north

After many years providing retail services in Canada, Premium doubled down on its investment in client needs and officially opened a Canadian Headquarters just outside of Toronto, providing the full menu of retail services offered stateside to clients in all provinces.