pittsburgh cstore owner begins own coop

New group to receive discounts for costly merchandise.

Brian C. Weiss, owner of four convenience stores in Pittsburgh, has called together a cooperative for convenience store owners that could enable members to collectively negotiate lower prices on merchandise.

“Over the past five years, we’ve been noticing how things have been getting really, really pricey,” Weiss told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Fuel charges that used to be a couple of dollars are now $9 or $10.”

The need for this new cooperative—named the Weiss Enterprises Retailers’ Wholesale Co-operative Network—rises from escalating fuel charges that are typically evened out by wholesalers and distributors to offset costs incurred when making deliveries. With crude oil at $70 a barrel, that cost has been particularly high lately. Because of rising costs, Weiss and other retailers have found themselves paying more and more for products, which negatively affect both their pricing and bottom line.

“Fuel drives everything,” Weiss said. “Because the cost of fuel is so high, the price of everything goes up.”

The co-op is being formed by Weiss for owners of convenience stores that purchase at least $100,000 of candy, groceries, cigarettes and tobacco items annually, reported the Post-Gazette. Weiss hopes his efforts will help obtain uniform discounts for co-op members, but also eliminate fuel charges by allowing members receiving shipments from a single wholesaler to split the costs.

Weiss said that about 15 or 16 stores are ready to join.

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