Minimarts and smaller supermarkets are being encouraged to form a cooperative that would benefit their operations.
The appeal came today from Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, at the end of a visit to Trimart, Mile-And-A-Quarter in St. Peter, where he engaged in discussions with management, and later spoke to the media.
Minister Sutherland stressed that a cooperative was one of the things these establishments should focus on as the country seeks to manage the COVID-19 crisis and ensure persons have sufficient supplies wherever they shopped.
Outlining the benefits to be gained from such an arrangement, he said: “I believe it is time now for some of our small retailers, village shops and mini-marts to form a cooperative to try to achieve economies of scale, in terms of buying patterns, whether it is buying regionally, whether it is buying locally, but cooperatives in terms of having a group of retailers forming a cooperative to focus on buying.”
He pointed out that it would augur well for all. “What I think it does or the end result is you get better pricing going down to who? To the average man, the consumer, so, I am one for cooperatives in terms of collective buying to achieve economies of scale and to drive costs down.”
The Small Business Minister further noted that a cooperative would address the issue of storage for most of the smaller retailers who did not have space to accommodate buying in bulk like larger retailers.
“They don’t have the storage space. So, when they form a cooperative, they can invest probably in a bond; invest in storage where they can house some of their goods, and indeed once you get better pricing it augurs well for consumerism; the consumers get better pricing,” he said.