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SmartEtailing and Harvest Retail Marketing merge; Atkinson appointed president

Published May 9, 2016

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Retail services company SmartEtailing is merging with Harvest Retail Marketing, a company that provides marketing, direct-mail and web services for bike retailers.

Harvest's founder and president, Ryan Atkinson, will become president of the combined company, which will be called SmartEtailing.

SmartEtailing remains majority owned by Steve Flagg and Mary Henrickson, the owners of QBP. Harvest, currently based in Omaha, Nebraska, will be merged into SmartEtailing's headquarters in Boulder by this fall, with most of Harvest's dozen or so employees making the move.

Harvest and SmartEtailing provide complementary services for retailers, Atkinson told BRAIN. SmartEtailing's strength is in providing web content, including a database of supplier and retail inventory and an e-commerce system that allows consumers to order from this combined inventory through retailers' websites. Harvest's strength is in the marketing — including email, social media and direct-mail marketing — that drives consumers to those websites.

The two companies already work with many of the same retail clients, with SmartEtailing providing the content that powers websites that Harvest develops and maintains.

"We have probably been the biggest power user of SmartEtailing for several years," Atkinson said. "When it comes to understanding the SmartEtailing system, our people probably know it better than anyone outside SmartEtailing itself."

"These two teams have the combined capability to significantly improve the quality of marketing for retailers, brands and suppliers. I look forward to working with SmartEtailing's many customers and partners to identify opportunities to serve them even better."

The merger comes shortly after the announcement of the recent retirement of both SmartEtailing's founders, Mark Graff and Barry Brenner. Graff will stay on as adviser and mentor for a few months once Atkinson assumes his new role.

The two companies will continue to operate separately until this fall, and Atkinson will split time between Omaha and Boulder. The staffs will come together early in the fall, when they move into a new location in Boulder's Gunbarrel neighborhood. Atkinson said customers of each company will maintain their same contact people during the transition.

"Ryan and his team have a reputation for innovation and professionalism and this will greatly benefit the customers for both companies," Flagg said. "I am very confident that Ryan is the ideal person to lead this talented SmartEtailing team."

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