Co-op Sectors

Purchasing Co-ops

Purchasing Co-ops

In a purchasing cooperative, groups of businesses in the same industry form a collective unit to buy supplies and services. Individual retailers own the purchasing co-op — not outside investors — so they make decisions based on the co-op’s interests. Member organizations share purchasing contracts to acquire the goods and services needed to run their independent businesses.

Individual stores who are members of a co-op buy merchandise in bulk at the lowest possible price. Cooperative purchasing helps members reduce costs and offer competitive prices compared to retail chains.

As part of a purchasing co-op, independent businesses thrive in a world of big box stores. They serve their local communities by offering quality products at the best prices, as well as expert advice. By joining forces in a purchasing co-op, organizations achieve lower prices, greater efficiencies and increased market power.

Key Facts About Purchasing Co-ops

With cooperative purchasing, independent organizations combine their purchasing power for greater savings and efficiency. Here are a few key statistics about purchasing co-ops:

  • There are more than 250 purchasing co-ops in the U.S.
  • Ace Hardware, a cooperative of independent hardware stores, has a total revenue of $12.5 billion
  • CCA Global Partners is the largest privately held purchasing co-op with more than 3000 locations
  • Examples of purchasing co-ops include Ace Hardware, CCA Global Partners and National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance.

The Benefits of Cooperative Purchasing

Purchasing co-ops benefit members, suppliers, consumers and the surrounding economies in the following ways:

  • Reduce administrative overhead, increasing efficiency and savings
  • Achieve greater economies of scale when buying goods and services, saving valuable resources
  • Decrease costs by purchasing goods in bulk through nationally leveraged pricing
  • Maintain public trust through ethical, transparent procurement practices
  • Enable access to a wide variety of quality products from reliable suppliers
  • Enable independent businesses to compete with retail chains

Cooperative purchasing empowers business owners with a competitive edge in a shifting economy. Member organizations do more with less by pooling their buying power and negotiating better pricing.

A purchasing cooperative combines the knowledge and experience of all members so the co-op can implement more efficient processes. Each member offers their own skills and expertise to ensure the co-op employs the best practices possible.

Purchasing co-ops lower costs and free up valuable resources for its member organizations to reinvest in their businesses and communities.

Purchasing Co-op Associations

Several associations work to promote cooperatives, including purchasing co-ops, in the U.S. and internationally:

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