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    Sam's Club Launches Small Business Savings Drive

    Walmart's wholesale club division targeting convenience stores and other small businesses

    Evergreen Park, Ill. -- Representatives of Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Stores Inc., already visited and conducted cost-savings audits at 14,000 small businesses toward its goal of reaching 100,000 small businesses by the end of National Small Business Week, held May 17-22.

    As part of the 2009 Sam’s Club Small Business Savings Drive, associates from all of its 600 clubs across the country will visit 100,000 small businesses and conduct cost comparisons to help identify ways to lower costs—with a goal of generating at least $270 million in savings.

    So far, the drive identified a savings of $26 million for the businesses visited, said a company representative.

    "The success of small business is key to our nation’s economic recovery and we want to be part of the solution," said Cindy Davis, executive vice president of membership, marketing and ecommerce at Sam’s Club. "Pennies matter more than ever for today’s small-business owner and helping them find as much or more than thousands of dollars in savings has a real impact and can mean keeping an employee, expanding or financing a start-up."

    During a media tour at the club southwest of Chicago, Catherine Corley, vice president of Small Business at Sam’s Club, noted:

    -- Despite the down economy, new business member sign-ups are up in the last 12 months;
    -- Overall business member trips are up but average ring is down;
    -- Cleaning products, office supplies and paper goods are among the key categories purchased by business members;
    -- 40 percent of club members are in the business class and they drive 60 percent of a typical club’s sales;
    -- Each club has a fulltime "fax-and-pull" employee who puts together orders that are faxed in ahead of time;
    -- Sam’s does offer "truckload" pricing for those members who can purchase that amount of volume;
    -- Some small distributors actually purchase from Sam’s and then re-sell to convenience stores;
    -- C-stores are buying a significant amount of Frito-Lay product at Sam’s;
    -- Gatorade (core flavors and multiple sizes), Monster (16-ounce energy drinks and Hitman shots), and 5-Hour Energy shots are all big c-store sellers at Sam’s; and,
    -- Sam’s is also looking at developing and driving a c-store foodservice program.

    Many single-store owners utilize wholesale clubs like Sam’s, BJ’s and Costco in lieu of traditional convenience store wholesalers. Small-business owners can call (800) 726-7258 to request help and arrange a visit from local Sam’s Club associates. Additionally, the opportunity to request a cost comparison is available at any Sam’s Club location, by calling (800) 726-7258, or going online to www.samsclub.com/smallbusiness, where related resources and tips from business owners are also available. Sam’s Club guarantees it can help small businesses save, and will refund any business membership at any time, if the wholesale club is not able to demonstrate savings to the satisfaction of the member. Moreover, Sam’s Club is offering a complimentary one-day membership to any small business good through May 25, 2009.

    During the 2008 National Small Business Week, Sam’s Club conducted a pilot cost comparison program resulting in 5,300 invoice comparisons and identified more than $3.5 million in savings on products available at its clubs.

    Sam’s Club estimates more than 600,000 small-business owners or their employees walk through its doors every day. In addition to quality products, Sam’s Club also offers small-business members access to affordable health insurance and other services, such as merchant credit card processing solutions and time-saving solutions including online ordering through "Click n’ Pull."

    Business members can shop at Sam’s Club when it’s convenient for them, with clubs open seven days a week and special "Gold Key" shopping hours exclusively for business members.

    The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam’s Club serves more than 47 million U.S. members, with locations nationwide and in Brazil, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

    Related News:

    -- Sam’s Club to Host Inaugural ‘Taste of Spring” -- March 22, 2009

    -- Walmart Puts Hispanic Retailing Efforts into Hyperdrive -- March 16, 2009

    -- Small Stores Tap Many Sources – Oct. 3, 2008

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