What is a Purchasing Cooperative and What are its Advantages?

Purchasing cooperatives (also called Shared Services Cooperatives) in Ohio normally have members that are businesses or organizations, as opposed to individual consumers.  Members of purchasing coops come together to be able to purchase in bulk needs goods or supplies for their enterprises, as well as to share in the costs of marketing (or delivering) their goods or services.  Agricultural businesses (i.e., farms) often form as purchasing cooperatives and are popular in Ohio.  In fact, Ohio has a long history of agricultural cooperatives dating back to the turn of the century.  Many Ohio farmers continue to come together as members of purchasing cooperatives as well as producer cooperatives where members share in the costs of marketing (or delivering) their goods or services.   Ohio State University has a whole Center for Cooperative with many wonderful resources dedicated to helping start and grow cooperatives – agricultural coops in particular.

Another example of a purchasing cooperative in a different industry is Amicus Solar Cooperative in Colorado. When the solar giant, Solar City, started expanding from California into other states, smaller local solar installation businesses were having trouble competing. Solar City was able to purchase needed materials, such as solar panels, in bulk and resultantly charge customers lower prices. So, individual solar businesses in Colorado formed a purchasing cooperative, Amicus Solar Cooperative (https://www.amicussolar.com), which enables the members to pool their resources to gain advantages.  Combined buying power enables the cooperative to gain favorable credit terms, lower prices, rebates, preferential service and tech support, and augmented supply reliability. 

Purchasing cooperative have so much potential to help Ohio businesses and organizations gain advantages by pool their resources.