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Import and Export Business Question

Discussion in 'General Business' started by MGarcon, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. #1
    Greetings!

    I'm new to the forum and I couldn't find a specific category for this question, but I was hoping that someone with the answer will stumble across this thread.
    SEMrush
    I am wanting to start a local grocery/convenient store, and I'm wanting to be competitive with the larger corporations within my community (i.e. Wal-Mart, Target, Harris Teeter, Walgreens) My question is where can I purchase the goods, both name brand and generic, needed to furnish my future store. The mission here is to be fiscally conservative so that I may have a fighting chance at keeping money circulating within my community.

    Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Anything you can find will help. Thank you.
     
    MGarcon, Sep 30, 2014 IP
    SEMrush
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #2
    You'll find most of the folk here know more about internet marketing than running a real world business. Your IP shows you are from the US but your avatar implies you are in the UK. First thing you have to do is find a template for a business plan and work your way through it - and in the process addressing some uncomfortable topics.

    Before anyone can really help we'd need to know where you are based, the population size of the community, the wealth of the community and a number of other things. Expect lots of questions before people start giving real advice.

    In my community - in New Zealand - we have dairies which are like a non franchised version of a 7-11 - and they buy their stock from regular supermarkets, shopping around for the best deals.
     
    sarahk, Sep 30, 2014 IP
  3. MGarcon

    MGarcon Greenhorn

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    #3
    Hi @sarahk thanks for your response. I'm aware of the majority of this forum's expertise. I ask with the hope that I may gain someone can lend advice they may be common sensical to internet marketers that maybe offline business owners may be missing. I'm an expat living here in America, North Carolina to be exact. The city itself has a population of 200,000 people, but my neighborhood is about 4,000 people and that's not including the university which hasn't posted their numbers within the past 2-3 yrs. I would estimate at least another 4,000 students. Not the wealthiest community, with the median income being around 16,000 and 45,00 for the entire city.

    I was thinking maybe there was somewhere like Alibaba but on a smaller scale where I could purchase products at smaller quantities and like I said stay competitive with the bigger corporations.
     
    MGarcon, Sep 30, 2014 IP
  4. jestep

    jestep Prominent Member Premium Member

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    #4
    I'm not trying to be discouraging here, just throwing out some comments based on my own dealings and observations. I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to compete with these companies toe to toe. Walmart and Target's supply networks, which they own, and volume give them a substantial competitive advantage over small retailers. They also have the funds to take losses indefinitely so they can wipe out their competition, which is pretty much the blueprint on how walmart, target, home depot, petsmart, etc., took out a huge portion, if not a majority, of the small businesses in the country. Secondly, the products that these companies sell are very commoditized, there's near zero margin for profit on them. I'll just say personally, this is a space, as well as office supplies, I would stay far away from unless you have additional services that will drive customers. Example, if you do the traditional convenience store model with fuel, it's workable, very dependent on location though. Fuel is typically treated as a loss leader to get customers into the store to buy goods. Without the fuel, there's hardly any customers because they're all at walmart or another gas station. Same can be said of a company like walgreens, where their pharmacy and their typically absurdly convenient locations, are a huge traffic draw to get their customers in the store to purchase consumables at 50% more than bigger box stores.

    With that being said, best bet might be to go directly to some of the brands you are interested in selling and ask them if there are regional wholesalers or distribution networks. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Many times there will be a single distributor that handles a bunch of different brands. Generic is much more difficult because many generic products are proprietary to a specific corporation, think equate. There are generic'ish products that will often sell to privately owned companies, like western family. These are often regional. You would need to know what sort of off-brand companies have networks in your area. I don't know a lot of these off the top of my head so couldn't advise what's available or common in NC.

    I think this sort of business is going to require some extensive planning and a really good location. I wouldn't ever say it's impossible, but I think it would be close without ancillary services that will draw customers into the store, ideally without having to market them. IMO, this is a good thing because you can create a more interesting business with multiple sales channels, restaurant, pharmacy, fuel, sporting rental store, who knows...

    The big box stores are really good at what they do and no matter how people feel about them, their wallets are a larger influence than their consciences.
     
    jestep, Oct 1, 2014 IP
    Rado_ch likes this.
  5. MGarcon

    MGarcon Greenhorn

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    #5
    @jestep THANK YOU SO MUCH for that wisdom. I understand you didn't have to reply but you did and I want to thank you because you made some excellent points! I will definitely look at this from a different angle now. Is it ok if I email you with updates and bounce ideas off of you? I'm not sure if I'm able to PM yet since I'm new to the board. But once again thank you so much. A reinvention of the grocery store is definitely in order.

    If anyone has any other ideas I would truly appreciate them.
     
    MGarcon, Oct 1, 2014 IP
  6. Boblin

    Boblin Member

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    #6
    what products do you want to sell?
     
    Boblin, Oct 20, 2014 IP