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Emerson Ecologics Morphs into Tech Startup
Published Thursday, June 15, 2017

Adam Carr, CEO. Photo by Matthew J. Mowry.

For 35 years, Emerson Ecologics in Manchester has distributed vitamins, nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies and other natural health products, building sales now north of $150 million. The company is now among the top 20 private companies in NH. But Emerson is entering a new phase, which makes it more of a tech startup.

While Emerson’s client base consists of about 40,000 health practitioners, the company found that many of the end users were starting to order directly online. “That’s a major concern for our customers. They take great pride in making sure they are giving the right product at the right dosage,” says CEO Adam Carr, who joined the company in April 2016.

So two years ago, Emerson Ecologics began developing Wellevate, an online patient dispensary which it launched last year. With this system, practitioners can both order online and create accounts for their patients, who can, in turn, order online. This allows practitioners to ensure their clients are getting the right product at the right dose, and they can “participate in the revenue stream,” Carr says.

Through Wellevate, practitioners can create a customized list of products through their own dispensary, allowing their patients easier online access. Orders, delivery and customer service requests are handled entirely by Emerson Ecologics.  “It transformed our business from pure distribution into a technology company,” Carr says. He estimates the company has hired up to 40 people in the past year—mostly for tech jobs as well as sales and customer service. “We’re creating a technology startup within our 30-year-old organization. We’re hiring technical talent and bringing more technical talent to New Hampshire,” he says.

While Carr would not divulge specific sales figures, he says the company experienced double digit growth between 2015 and 2016. Emerson Ecologics, which is owned by Liberty Lane Partners, a NH private investment group, distributes 300 brands and, in addition to its corporate offices on Elm Street in Manchester, has two distribution centers in Virginia and California. Emerson boasts 200 employees, of which about 125 are in NH.

Carr brings a unique perspective to spur this new entrepreneurial vision. He has spent the second half of his career in the food and beverage industry, working for PepsiCo as general manager of Naked Juice in California and working his way up to running PepsiCo’s sports nutrition group. He also served as CEO of hummus producer Tribe Mediterranean Foods in Massachusetts. There he was tasked with turning around flagging sales.

Under Carr, Tribe developed new flavors and packaging and was ultimately bought by Nestlé.

Carr is now bringing that branding acumen to Emerson. “We play in a  $3.7 billion segment that sells to the practitioner channel,” Carr says. And, he adds, 71 percent of Americans take a vitamin or supplement. “We’re in a hot category.”

For more information, visit Emersonecologics.com.

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