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How To: Find Distributors These middlemen can get your product on store shelves. Here's how.

By Jan Norman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Ronn King started his own company to make a new type ofpaint mixer, the toughest part wasn't coming up with theidea--or even figuring out how to manufacture it. The toughest partwas persuading retailers to stock it.

Most national retail chains would rather buy a hundred productsfrom one supplier than one product each from a hundred differentsuppliers. So small manufacturers have a tough time breaking intothe game, says King, 47, co-founder of Site-b in Spokane,Washington.

King's company makes a paint-stirring device called theSquirrel Mixer. More than 120,000 were sold worldwide in 1997through such major stores as Home Depot.

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