Starting a New Business: Where to Find Buyers?
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Eddie Thompson
Posted on: December 07, 2007

I live near Salem, Oregon. I’d like to start a little business to harvest and process and sell natural herbs. What I can’t figure out is where to find buyers or brokers or distribution networks. Who (or what companies) buy the raw product from the small producer and how can I find them?

Most networks and centralized buyers disappeared during the deep slump of the herb trade in late 1990s. I wrote an article about this:

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=MagazineRack/Articles/WhatHappened.html

This hiatus lasted almost ten years, leaving organized buying stations in a disarray. Experienced farmers left that industry, and outsourcing to China and other countries (India, Pakistan, etc.) became the rule. Because there was no due diligence, such countries as China were left wide open to exploit this industry. Hence, the current problems with China.

So, most of the original infrastructures to help local and regional markets no longer exist. That means there is aneed for a nation BBS-like marketplace. I’m too old to build that up again, but would be happy to help those who would. I even have a USDA-SBIR grant proposal already good to go.

I have also left some footprints. These would include my various books. "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop" have more than four chapters on resources. I have even written a number of PDF books (www.herbfarminfo.com) on marketing resources and start points for rebuilding the old networks.

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/altagri/marketingrsrc.htm

I am also just down the street from you, having lived in Grants Pass for more than 22 years. While now semi-retired, I still act as a broker for specific sales. Oregon itself has numerous regional and wholesale manufacturers (Gaia, Electic, Pacific Botanicals, Wise Woman Herbal, and many others).

The first thing I would do is go to www.froogle.com (a part of google) and key word your crops. Remember, I break down buyers into three categories, so volumes and processing also now dictate who would buy and at what pricing. I have offered many other footprints over years, begin there.

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