How to Find Stock for a Retail Store
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How to Find Stock for a Retail Store

How to open a retail store, how to get merchandise for a retail shop. How to find wholesalers. How to get stock to resell and make profit. Where do retailers find wholesalers. What is a trade show?

If you have plans to open a retail store you might be stuck at not knowing where to get your stock, and supplies, from. Indeed few retail stores would make money if all they did was go around buying from other stores and selling (although I have seen that happen). Just where do retail stores get their stock?


  • Retail – Sell to the public
  • Wholesaler – Sell to businesses, also know as a supplier
  • Stock – Items for sale, also called merchandise
  • Mark Up- Increase in price from the whole sale price to the retail price
  • Overhead – Cost of running and operating the store, includes staffing

There are many different types of retail stores, gift stores, pet stores, clothing stores, and even grocery stores, are all retail outlets. These are stores that sell merchandise to the public, marking it up from what they paid for it in order to pay their overhead and make profit.

The buyer for the store (often the owner in the case of a small business) has several ways of finding merchandise for the purpose of resale. They can order stock through wholesale catalogs, online, through a rep, or at a trade show.

Check your local yellow pages for “Wholesalers” to see if there are any businesses listed in your area, but be aware many other stores in your are may carry the same items as you if these are the only companies you buy from.

The Trade Show is the best way for a store buyer to find wholesalers. There are many trade shows held throughout the world attended by wholesalers and the retailers who are looking to buy. In most large cities these are held twice a year, spring and fall, with different trade shows for different types of products, some for clothing, others for gift ware, and so forth. In most cases these shows are closed from the public, only somebody with a retail business can get in and they usually have to register before hand. To find trade shows do an Internet search for “Trade Show” with your country name, and type of store. You can also call a store in an other city (not in competition with you) and inquire where the trade shows are, they do not have to answer you though. Many trade shows are several days long.

You can buy merchandise directly from the trade show, or can make contacts with companies, and either inquire about other methods of placing an order or about having a rep meet you at your store.

If you do not wish to attend a trade show you can find wholesalers by doing Internet searches although you will usually need to register in order to see their products and prices. If the site does not offer this step be aware they may sell to the public for the same prices they sell to you, offering you very little room for price mark ups.

You can also find suppliers for certain companies that you know you want to sell the products of simply by doing an Internet search using the name of the company who makes the product, and the word “Wholesale”.

Again you can approach businesses in other cities and ask who their suppliers are. If you have built a relationship of trust with them (assuring them that you are in a different city and are not in competition with them) they may let you know of some of their suppliers.

Another opportunity is accepting locally made products on consignment, but that is something that will not be covered here.

Very often once you have established your business some wholesale reps (representatives) will come looking for you. This is especially true after you have registered to attend a trade show as they get notification of new businesses.


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Comments (4)

Excellent useful information on this topic. voted jup!

Very informative and very good for sharing here in my country for most wanted to open a retail store.

Until I read your well composed article I never gave it a thought.

Nicely done Brenda. The retail business is a really hard row to how today unless you have a unique niche product because the competition is a killer.