How to Start a Wholesale Grocery Store!

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wholesale grocery store

If you want to start a wholesale grocery store but are wondering if is the right business for you, you’ve landed on the right article! You might be worried about losing your job or just bored with your job, and trading goods for profit seems like an appealingly simple. Of course, wholesale grocery distribution is less about haggling over shipments in the dead of the night and more about


How to Start a Wholesale Grocery store?

Step 1: Understand Your Role as a Distributor

Step 1: Understand Your Role as a Distributor - wholesale grocery store

As a wholesale grocery shop owner, you will serve as the middleman between manufacturers and household consumers. Manufacturers will produce your groceries. You are the distributor. Grocery stores will come to you if you can offer groceries at a low-enough wholesale price. They will buy from you and then sell it to end-users at a profit. A bushel of apples or a bunch of greens, for example, is grown by a farmer. You will then move it from farmers to the market.

Check out How to Start a Small Business Wholesale Supplier!


Step 2: Obtain a License

Step 2: Obtain a License

Laws dictating how a wholesale license can be obtained may vary depending on which country you live in and what sort of business you want to run. In any country, you will need some licenses legally operate your business. Firstly, you will have to register your business. Once you have a registered business, you must apply for a wholesale license. Which may exempt you from paying sales tax on the groceries that you are buying wholesale because you intend to resell it. You may also need to get a resale license.


Step 3: Set Your Prices Using Markup

Step 3: Set Your Prices Using Markup - wholesale grocery store

In order to set resell prices that will be lucrative for you in the long run, you have to carefully select the manufacturers based on the quality of their produce and the price they are willing to sell at, as well as the minimum purchase quantity they have set. You must then determine how much produce you can afford to sell before they perish. You will also have to settle on your resell price at this point in order to determine how much profit you will make.

Settle on your own prices after you have compared them to your competitors’ prices. Remember that grocery store chains that buy wholesale look for bigger discounts and slotting fees when they buy in bulk, so you should factor that into your prices. As a wholesale grocery shop, you can differentiate yourself through customer service, or by specializing in selling unusual, organic or locally grown produce only.


Step 4: Develop a Marketing Plan

Step 4: Develop a Marketing Plan

As a distributor, you should spread the word to any grocery retailers looking to stock new products, manufacturers of products, and consumers of product. Create marketing materials and ensure that it reaches produce farmers and produce consumers. But most importantly grocery retailers who will be your primary buyers.

Find out what is unique about your produce and advertise it. Establish social media accounts (but focus on LinkedIn more than Instagram. Since that will be where your target market (i.e. other businesses) are). Simpler tactics such as offering discounts or offering delivery also work. You could also consider creating a loyalty program. If you operate as the owner of a wholesale distributorship, you will be buying produce to resell to other businesses at a profit, instead of selling it to the buying public.

Try B2B marketing strategies such as a high performance website that will provide a wealth of information about you, as well as limited-time offers that encourage immediate purchase. Find industry platforms on which your business can advertise effectively. You could also consider referral marketing.

Also, read about How to Start a Pub Business!


Step 5: Learn the Skills You Will Need

Step 5: Learn the Skills You Will Need

In order be successful at wholesale distribution, you need negotiation skills, research/trend-tracking skills that will allow you to find the most popular products at any given time, and salesmanship/people skills (i.e. the ability to make a deal appear attractive to your customer).

Sales skills will get your foot in the door, but you must also have operational skills (i.e. the knowledge and resources needed to manage a company). You will need to know how to set up warehouses, order and receive shipments, turn inventory over quickly, and keep your customers satisfied through exemplary service.


Step 6: Rent or Buy Warehouse Space

Step 6: Rent or Buy Warehouse Space

Since you have chosen to specialize in produce, you will require large, cool, dry warehouses. But since food perishes quickly, you will not have to store it for long. Renting warehouse space is much more affordable than buying it. Since you deal with groceries, you can afford to rent (and shift easily by having future shipments delivered to newer locations should the rent contract not work out for any reasons).

However, grocery warehousing costs are increasing due to increase in wages and equipment costs. So you need to choose a warehouse system that will best suit your needs. Find the right way to assemble orders (from stock selector selection, conventional selection, “u” Bay selection or batch selection) and the right layout to go with it.


Step 8: Choose the Right Way to Start Out

Step 8: Choose the Right Way to Start Out - wholesale grocery store

If you want to start your own wholesale grocery shop, you can buy an existing business, start one from scratch or invest in one. Both have their risks and rewards. You will need to spend your savings to buy an existing business. But can enjoy success and reputation. It has built over the years, as well as the client base. For the second option, you will need a fair amount of startup capital. But it will not be as costly as buying an existing business.

You should start your own wholesale grocery shop if you have an innovative solution that no one has tried before. But it will require patience and ambition as you should prepare to not make any profit for the first two to five years. Lastly, you could choose to invest in one.


In conclusion, all you need to do to start a wholesale grocery store is to obtain a license. Set your prices using markup, develop a B2B marketing plan, pick up some sales and operational skills, set up the right warehouse system and choose how you want to start out.

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