Membership

4 Reasons to Join a Buying Group

Buying groups offer benefits that boost your bottom line and improve your business.
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Cassie Scott

If you want to boost your buying power with help from people dedicated to saving you money while growing your business, then join a buying group! Buying groups harness the buying power of individual archery and bowhunting retailers by creating a cooperative organization that receives manufacturers’ best wholesale prices. They also provide tips and help on issues affecting independent retail businesses. Most such groups set minimum-sales standards to qualify for membership.

ATA-member buying groups include Sports Inc., Nation’s Best Sports, Mid-States Distributing, the Archery Range and Retailers Organization and the National Archery Buyers Association.

Let’s discuss some buying-group benefits.

Buying groups encourage education and collaboration, and want members to exchange information, best practices and recent experiences. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

1. Networking Opportunities

Buying groups open doors to a nationwide network of peers familiar with the archery and bowhunting industry. Buying groups encourage education and collaboration, and want members to exchange information, best practices and recent experiences.

Bud Robinson co-owns Downwind Archery in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with his wife, Kathy. He uses buying groups and trade shows to interact with other dealers. “I’ve made friends with many successful dealers over the years,” he said. “I’m always looking for new ideas and they’re always willing to help.”

Russ and Carrie Hookstead agree. They own Hunt-N-Gear LLC in Janesville, Wisconsin, and said being part of a buying group feels like they’re part of a team, not just one shop out on their own. They discuss problems, swap ideas and talk about the industry with other dealers. These connections and conversations are often helpful and inspiring.

2. Member Care and Support

Buying-group organizations want their members and member-businesses to succeed. Therefore, they provide care and support for their members. They often share information, enhance member relationships, and advocate for their members’ best interest, which magnifies individual retailers’ voices. Most buying groups also let their members conduct business on their own, and only intervene when problems arise.

Jim Chandley, president of NBS, said buying groups help members grow their businesses. “We devote time to educating our members and helping them become better business people,” he said. “As a relatively new benefit, we’re now able to assist them in purchasing and maintaining point-of-sale equipment. We also have a full marketing department that works with our members on web development and e-commerce.”

Trade shows aren’t the only way to save money. Although shows usually offer the best savings, buying groups offer members year-round specials. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

3. Access to Buying Trade Shows

An ATA membership gives NABA members exclusive access to the NABA Super Show. Likewise, ARRO members receive exclusive access to the ARRO Hot Show before the ATA Trade Show. These regional buying shows bring members and vendors together for unique business opportunities. They offer prizes, giveaways, attendance incentives and deep discounts. NABA and ARRO members must wear their ATA Trade Show badge to attend these events.

“The biggest benefit of being part of a buying group is to get better pricing so we can be competitive with box stores and internet retailers,” Robinson said. “We try to only buy products we can mark up at least 40 percent. The market is tough, so we need to go after the deepest discounts. Buying groups help us make smart buying decisions.”

4. Year-Round Savings

Trade shows aren’t the only way to save money. Although shows usually offer the best savings, buying groups offer members year-round specials.

Mike Clement, owner of Flying Arrow Sports in New York, has been an ARRO member 16 years. He likes to support companies that support his business, and – of course – save him money. He saves 5 to 10 percent off a product’s regular price as an ARRO member. He saves another 5 to 10 percent off the ARRO yearly price if he buys a product at the ARRO Hot Show.

Weigh Your Options

Most buying groups offer all four benefits above. However, some groups also provide payment plans, member-only products, and the option to sell overstocked products to fellow members or buy hard-to-find items from other members.

Buying groups aren’t for every business, but they’re an option ATA members should consider. If these benefits interest you, do your research and talk to buying-group staff to decide whether such groups would help your business. To learn more, view the ATA Show Guide and Membership Directory in the member login portal on Archerytrade.org to find contact information for the industry’s buying groups.

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