Our History

We take pride in our broad team of experts and innovators—and you’d never believe it all started as the work of one man at one store. Long before there were supercenters, supermarkets, and the fast-paced eCommerce industry we champion today, big ideas were brewing for a young man named Willis Johnson. The year was 1905. He saw an opportunity to make merchandising easier and faster within the booming town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was then that he decided to team up with E. Leslie Hunt to establish Johnson & Hunt Merchandise Brokers. That company would evolve into Willis Johnson & Company, a major player in its region. But just as the retail market changed…so did the company itself.

Willis learned that Cadbury candy company was struggling with out-of-date product in stores. Seeing an opportunity to save the day, Willis Johnson & Company began travelling across the country in 1977, all to rotate products on shelves…starting at the newly launched Walmart store. This one-off project soon became a core offering that marked the beginning of a business services evolution as SALES MARK. In 1995, SALES MARK merged with Gordon Company and Phillips Brokerage Company—and one year later, that massive merger was complete. CROSSMARK was born.

By 2000, CROSSMARK had completed 55 mergers and acquisitions in its quest to become a national sales agency, managing brands, and performing sales functions for manufacturers and performing in-store merchandising services at retailers nationwide. The same year, we expanded our operations to Canada to broaden our impact in North America. And in 2013 we acquired Chicago-based agencies Marketing Werks and PromoWorks to deliver end-to-end shopper marketing and engagement—both in store and out. The fusion of talents and expertise among these agencies, with CROSSMARK at the core, has empowered us to deliver a leading, all-encompassing, and completely integrated Marketing Services arm to our organization.

Company milestones and service expansions have only been possible because of the true beating heart of CROSSMARK: our people. Our dedicated and passionate employees work hard to provide clients with the best opportunities to drive sales, to see brands thrive, and to create lasting connections. We’re excited for what’s next in our ever-evolving company—and we hope you’ll join us for the journey ahead.

After achieving its goals to expand its North American capabilities, CROSSMARK officially became part of the WIS International family of brands after WIS acquired the company in August 2021. This acquisition kept the CROSSMARK brand and allowed CROSSMARK to have a broader customer reach while still offering its well-known portfolio of services including ecommerce solutions, marketing insights and analytics, customized merchandising and retail support. In January 2023, CROSSMARK joined WIS International at its new corporate headquarters location in Lewisville, Texas, which further promoted internal collaboration and strategy among the WIS brands.