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Cardinal, What's Up Announce Cross-Marketing Agreement

Posted On: 4/9/2008

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BALTIMORE -- Cardinal Distributing Inc., based here, and What's Up LLC (Appleton, WI) have announced a cross-marketing agreement that will help strengthen the promotion of bulk vending products from both suppliers. Under terms of the agreement, Cardinal has acquired exclusive production and distribution rights to the What's Up brand.

As a result of the accord, What's Up's warehouse and shipping operations will shut down in El Paso, TX, and will be transferred to Cardinal's Baltimore facility.

Another key part of the agreement is collaborative marketing, which will be spearheaded by What's Up principals Peter and Karen Becker. The Cardinal and What's Up lines will now be sold by both companies. Officials said Cardinal will focus on financing, production and distribution while the What's Up team will concentrate on product sourcing, development and marketing.

What's Up was founded in 2003 by the Beckers following their 13-year tenure at Toy 'n Joy, where the duo had structured Toy 'n Joy's transition from a bulk vending operation and distribution network to product supplier only. They pioneered bulk vending's "premium" category, which consists of capsuled merchandise designed around the principles of quick retail sell-through and intended to sell at higher prices. The bulk marketing team also has received acclaim for its creative POS displays.

"Being a supplier in this industry requires an incredible amount of financial capital," Karen Becker said. "After [Peter and I] went out on our own with What's Up, we were restricted by limited cashflow to be able to bring a lot of great ideas to market. It's frustrating to know you have all these powerful ideas for products and be financially limited. The thrill I get out of this business is picking a winner and watching it fly out of machines."

NEW CREW: From left, Cardinal Distributing's Danny and Tommy Paszkiewicz join What's Up LLC's Karen and Peter Becker in announcing plans for future cooperation between the respective companies. The alliance will combine Cardinal's distribution and financial strengths with What's Up's product development know-how.

Cardinal Distributing's president, Danny Paszkiewicz, added: "We've always been impressed by the products and displays Peter and Karen have brought to our industry over the last 20 years. All of us at Cardinal are really excited about teaming up with them. There's much we can do together."

Paszkiewicz and his nephew, Tommy Paszkiewicz, founded Cardinal in the mid-1970s as a bulk vending supplier. The company markets a wide array of capsuled novelties, confections and flat merchandise, along with vending equipment. Its injection-molding division, Cardinal Plastics Inc., supplies most of the bulk channel with capsules. Cardinal is based at 6801 Quad Ave., Baltimore, MD 21237; tel. (800) 368-2062; What's Up's sales office is based in Appleton, WI, and can be reached at (920) 739-4904; it maintains a website at

"We've always had a great relationship with Danny and Tommy going back many years," Peter Becker observed. "In fact, when Karen and I started What's Up, Cardinal went out of its way to help us in any way they could, even inviting us into their warehouse and supplying us with inventory if we needed it to get up and running."