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This research reports on an longitudinal study of wholesaling evolution over a period of 70 years, in three Irish wholesaling sectors: grocery, building materials and hardware wholesaling, and utilizes four contrasting, but not incompatible, lenses for analysis. The data was gathered by archival, documentary and interview methods. It is analysed from several perspectives, initially those of economizing, and power-dependency. The explanations offered by these conceptual frameworks reveal interesting interpretations that both confirm and develop the associated streams of research literature. However, other insights are also revealed by readings of the data from institutional and evolutionary perspectives. Recent calls for greater attention to the role of the institutional environment in channels research are strongly supported and the potential of employing evolutionary theory is proposed.