What is a Cooperative?

A grocery wholesaling cooperative is a business model in which independent grocery stores, supermarkets, and other food retailers join together to purchase goods in bulk, which allows them to obtain better prices and more favorable terms from manufacturers and distributors. The cooperative is typically owned and controlled by its members, with each member having an equal say in the operation of the business.
Grocery wholesaling cooperatives operate on a cooperative model, where customers pay a small membership fee in exchange for the ability to purchase goods at cost. This means that there is no profit margin, and the cooperative is able to keep prices low by avoiding markups and other expenses associated with for-profit grocery stores.
By joining together in a cooperative, independent retailers are able to compete with larger chains by leveraging their combined purchasing power and accessing more favorable terms from manufacturers and distributors. Additionally, grocery wholesaling cooperatives can provide other benefits to their members, such as marketing and advertising support, training and education, and other resources to help their businesses succeed.
Some examples of grocery wholesaling cooperatives include Associated Wholesale Grocers, Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA), and Unified Grocers. These cooperatives have been around for many decades and continue to play an important role in the food retail industry, particularly for independent retailers who might otherwise struggle to compete with larger chains.