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How Did These Hands Get So Dirty?

When it comes to natural food industry merchandising, there are no shortage of vendors at store-level. You can spot them a mile away. Headphones in, hoods up, consumed by their own long list of brand “to-do’s”. They rarely speak to anyone and when they do, it’s usually to ask someone at store-level, “Can you help me?”


At Dirty Hands we're asking the opposite and sometimes mind-blowing question: “How can we help you?” And all because we realize that if we can lighten the load, offer helpful information or pack out product, it sends the message that our investment in them runs deeper than our own agendas.

Where It All Began

The Dirty Hands origin story began like most good origin stories do: long ago and when no one else was watching.


It started with a young and hungry man, climbing into a second-rate soda truck before the world was awake, ready to work harder, longer and with more passion than anyone else on his route. That man was Rory Ahearn, our founder, and that soda truck route taught him more about relationship-building and the disconnect between brands and store-level than he’d ever thought he’d need to know.

Fast forward 20+ years and that same man, now 60 years old, found himself with a resume a mile long and a desire to dust off some of that store-level magic that he knew was the difference maker. And this time, with three incredibly passionate and scrappy kids (and one very tall son-in-law) in tow, the family business of Dirty Hands was born.

Our Recipe to Success

Dirty Hands exists to fill the wide and sometimes insurmountable gaps that brands face at store-level, in the headquarter office and along the twisted road of their evolution. And because we began at store-level, where everything happens and very few want to spend time, we have a depth of knowledge about how to succeed where others simply don’t.


This has allowed us to be a major factor in the growth of our brand partners, at whatever stage we meet them. Whether we’re slinging samples in the “Mom and Pop” independent stores, throwing load on the floor of a Whole Foods with a Dairy Buyer or opening up new pathways for distribution at a headquarter meeting, brands are better off with our eyes, ears and hands working on their behalf.


Our Guiding Principles

The Dirty Difference

The things that we value inform every decision and every interaction we have here at Dirty Hands. And although our 8 Guiding Principles help to keep us honest, it is the people that we attract to this organization that make it what it is. The type of people that choose to work here are beloved at store-level, in a headquarter meeting or on the floor of a food show because they find fulfillment and joy in helping and serving others, and other people notice.


Our people are resourceful and hungry, with a passion for “better-for-you” brands as options at retail. Furthermore, as invested as they are in our brand partners’ success, they care just as much for one another, which makes the atmosphere at Dirty Hands alive with celebration, recognition, and fosters a level of investment in each other that makes it feel like family. All while being nationally remote, with no sign of a water cooler in sight.

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