USTC produces consumer products for the U.S. market under the brand names of 1839, 1st Class, Ace, Checkers, Gold Crest, Hi-Val, Shield, Traffic, Ultra Buy and Wildhorse. These brands are focused on the value-oriented customer who wants a quality product with exceptional flavor at an extremely competitive price. The products are produced at USTC’s manufacturing company, U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers in Timberlake, NC. All of our brands rely on our growers’ flue-cured tobacco as the main ingredient in the product lines.
The Consumer Products segment of USTC includes three subsidiaries – Premier Manufacturing (St. Louis, MO), Big South Distribution (Bristol, VA and Suwanee, GA) and Franchise Wholesale d/b/a Wildhorse Distributing (Omaha, NE and Las Vegas, NV). Collectively, the companies market, sell and distribute all of USTC’s brands.
Premier Manufacturing has strong relationships with national, regional and local distributors such as McLane, Core-Mark and Eby-Brown, as well as large independent retail chains such as Cumberland Farms, Food Lion and Stewarts Shop. Premier has a national sales staff that is able to provide sales and service support, and create sales and merchandising programs with point-of-sale materials to maintain high retail visibility of the brands.
At Premier Manufacturing we are able to develop control brand relationships with large and regional retail chains since current government regulations make it difficult for retailers to develop their own destination brand. The Consumer Products group has been successful at entering into agreements with sophisticated retail chains, giving them brand exclusivity within a region and essentially their own private label. In April 2016, Premier Manufacturing signed a long-term deal with Circle K, the largest convenience store chain in the U.S. with over 6,700 locations, to be the exclusive retailer of Traffic cigarettes.
Big South Distribution and Wildhorse Distributing stock all of our brands, and they also carry more than 30 additional brands of discount tobacco products and include tax stamping operations for over 40 states. Both distributors also carry general merchandise items such as e-liquids, pipes and papers, vaping accessories, candles and incense, energy drinks and more. Big South and Wildhorse Distributing have dedicated sales staff and delivery options available, providing one-stop shopping for more than 10,000 retailers.
USTC has invested heavily in consumer product manufacturing to ensure consistent top-quality products and outstanding service. Major investments have been made in the cigarette and cut rag manufacturing areas to upgrade cigarette making/packing lines and filter making lines. The cigarette making and packing lines are all standardized and have laser perforation capability. In addition, quality testing stations in the cigarette manufacturing area facilitate real-time monitoring of the cigarette manufacturing process and ensure that finished products consistently meet product specifications.
Investments have also been made in the primary processing area. Optical sorters have been added to remove unwanted materials from the tobacco flow, resulting in cut rag quality improvements for that product either sold externally or used in-house for cigarette or pipe tobacco production.
Every brand within our Consumer Products group can deliver a quality product at a competitive price. We back that commitment with our 100% product satisfaction guarantee.