Indianapolis-based Market Wagon acquires St. Louis company

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Indianapolis-based Market Wagon, which offers an online marketplace where food producers and artisans sell their wares, has added to its presence in the St. Louis market by acquiring a smaller competitor.

Market Wagon announced Wednesday that it acquired St. Louis, Missouri-based Find Your Farmer Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal. The company declined to disclose financial terms of the purchase, which closed in November. The acquisition added more than 1,000 households to Market Wagon’s existing customer base in the St. Louis-area market.

Market Wagon, which launched in 2017, operates 18 food hubs in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions that deliver products to customers in more than a dozen states. Its Indiana markets include Marion County and 18 other central Indiana counties, the Fort Wayne area, and the Michiana market, which includes the cities of Valparaiso, South Bend and Elkhart, among others.

The company has 10 full-time employees, plus another 17 part-timers who coordinate Market Wagon’s distribution hub locations.

Find Your Farmer was started in 2020 by five founders who at the time were students at Washington University in St. Louis. By the time Market Wagon acquired the company, Find Your Farmer had developed partnerships with more than 50 farms, artisans and distributors, and was delivering groceries to more than 1,000 households in the area.

After Find Your Farmer’s founders graduated, they were looking to move on and sell the business, said Market Wagon co-founder and CEO Dan Brunner. “So we looked at it and said, ‘Well, you know, the combination of that many customers’—it was a big enough book of business. And we were also pretty interested in how they got the success that they’ve gotten.”

Market Wagon has retired the Find Your Farmer brand, and all St. Louis customers are now receiving their deliveries under the Market Wagon name, Brunner said.

Indianapolis-area Market Wagon customers won’t see any changes as a result of the acquisition, Brunner said, because Market Wagon has different sets of vendors in its various markets. The vendors that Market Wagon picked up through the Find Your Farmers acquisition were primarily serving the St. Louis market.

As was true with many online retail companies, Market Wagon saw its sales spike during the pandemic and, at its peak, was delivering to customers in 37 different markets. Sales have declined since then, Brunner said, but are still up significantly compared with before the pandemic.

Speaking to IBJ late last month, Brunner said he expected Market Wagon to close out 2023 with annual revenue about seven times greater than in 2019. At the peak of the pandemic, sales were 11 times that of 2019.

This year, Brunner said, he doesn’t expect to add any new markets. Instead, the company will focus on making additional revenue in the markets it already serves.

“I think there’s just a ton of room to grow those,” he said.

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