Customer Centric Dean Natural Chooses Fixturelite

Dec. 9, 2020

Robert Hites was tasked with a research project. His company president instructed him to learn as much as possible about the micro market business and specifically, to determine which company offered the best fixtures and design support. After three months, the answer was clear. Fixturelite was the right choice for his company.

Hites is Vice President of Dean Natural Vending, a fast-growing, eight-year-old, western Pennsylvania operation. When it comes to micro markets, they are very selective about suppliers as well as clients.

Evolving into micro markets

Originally a vending operation, the company has evolved to coffee service and now micro markets, capitalizing on customer loyalty, reinforced by their own strong performance and quality service. “Our clients asked us to provide additional services, like OCS,” said Hites. “Then we tend to get good at it and it expands rapidly. That’s exactly what happened with micro markets.”

Reaching full potential with Fixturelite

Hites points to Fixturelite as being instrumental to their company’s success in the micro market business. “Troy from Fixturelite really took his time to teach us about not only the market industry but about their products, and about why they're better, about how easy they are to assemble,” said Hites. “Just the time and the care that Troy took to ensure that his product was going to be handled by us in the correct way and make sure that we used it to its full potential -  that speaks volumes about Fixturelite.”

Troy Geis, an experienced operator of ten years who co-founded Fixturelite, the leading supplier of micro market retail displays, equipment and design tools, is quite impressed with Hites and Dean Natural’s approach to the micro market business. “You rarely find a company that is so focused on aesthetics, quality products and superior design. They will settle for nothing but the best when it comes to their clients and the performance of their micro markets,” said Geis.

“Super, super happy”

Currently, Dean Natural uses Fixturelite’s Executive Collection exclusively, which is consistent with the high quality, high volume markets that Dean Natural is serving. “We are certainly spoiled by the Executive Collection,” said Hites. “We're super, super happy with it. Fortunately, we have great locations, so the Executive is the right fit,” he added.

Branding that “pops”

Branding is extremely important to the Dean Natural management team and Hites said that Fixturelite’s products are very conducive to their style of micro market branding.  “We love the neutral colors, but at the same time, having reds and yellows and greens that pop out at the customer's eyes with our branding on it, it really goes hand in hand with the culture that our owner/president tried to create a long time ago when he first started,” said Hites.

Neat freaks

Cleanliness is more of a priority than ever before, especially around food and beverages. Hites said that sanitizing has always been a priority at Dean Natural. “As a company, we are neat freaks. That is the best way to put it, “said Hites. “We want everything to look great and be exceptionally clean. The Fixturelite market is easy to sanitize and that is very important to us. It should be important to anyone in the food business.”

Enjoying a competitive advantage

Hites has been impressed with the competitive advantage his company has enjoyed by working with Fixturelite. “I can tell you that in terms of optics and aesthetics, Fixturelite is a no brainer. The big difference for us - when we replace an existing market with ours, the client’s reaction is always the same: “Wow, this looks like it was built into the room, it looks like it belongs and that it has always been here.”

“The markets practically design themselves,”

After a great deal of design support from Fixturelite on their first micro markets, Hites has now learned to utilize the Fixturelite Design Tool on his own. “The markets practically design themselves,” said Hites. “Fixturelite was smart enough to make their pieces modular, so it's pretty much: Hey, you got a distance, what makes sense retail-wise? Where do you want to put your coolers? Where do you want to put your snack racks? Where do you want to put your kiosk? Then from there, it's almost plug and play,” he added.

“Minus Forty was the right decision”

Not surprisingly, Dean Natural uses industry leading refrigeration from Minus Forty. “The aesthetics are just unbelievable with Minus Forty,” said Hites. “For us, we definitely wanted coolers that looked good, but we also wanted something that was durable. Like I said, I did a lot of research and I can tell you that working with Minus Forty was the right decision.”

Looking ahead

In the near future, Hites is looking forward to utilizing Fixturelite’s Off the Wall Collection. “I am really intrigued by that concept,” he said. “It’s classic retail thinking.” As an established user of 365 Retail Markets technology, Hites is planning to bring on the Pico Cooler as well.

“We are super optimistic about 2021. For us, really, the sky is the limit in terms of micro-markets, in terms of vending, in terms of OCS. We are just taking it one day at a time. My boss always likes to say, "You got to eat the elephant one bite at a time,” said Hites.

“Fixturelite helps us accomplish our goal”

“Our model is totally customer centric. The bottom line for us is ensuring that our customers are satisfied, and they are happy. Whether that is from making an extra delivery, whether that is going above and beyond because a customer requests a certain type of product, or whether it is due to the exceptional design and performance of a micro market,” said Hites. “That is our goal, day in and day out. Fixturelite helps us accomplish our goal.”

Do your own research – then choose Fixturelite – Learn More

Industry consultant Bob Tullio ( is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up. In July, Tullio launched a You Tube Channel, b2b Perspective, designed to “elevate your business in 2 minutes” and is currently developing an online course, “Leverage the power of LinkedIn to grow your business.”

As he is a recognized industry expert in business development and sales, NAMA hired him to write and narrate the new online course, “Selling Convenience Services,” which is now available. Use discount code B2B10 for an instant discount and for free access to upcoming Q & A Webinars from Tullio in the coming months. Here is a free sample of the course.