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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious if anyone has or are selling their bottled honey to bigger chain stores. The honey we are selling is natural raw honey and not packed honey so it has a higher price. I have some meetings getting lined up and I have my ideal price and break point in mind but I was curious if anyone else sells their bottles to bigger stores. Thanks.
 

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I have sold honey by direct store delivery to 5 P&C Grocery Stores in my County in the past. Did pretty well with them until they sold out to Price Chopper.

How much honey do you have? Are you planning to sell only honey you produce yourself? How many stores will you be supplying honey to? Do you have a bar code on your label?
 

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As stated bar codes will certainly be mandatory unless you're dealing with Mom & Pop stores. Generally big chain stores buy cheap honey of unknown origin and could care less about your honey being raw etc. A big part of being successful selling your honey is selling it at the right locations at a price that does your product justice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bar codes are being worked on right now. I was curious whether they would buy it for half of what it would be sold retail (for example $8 for retail and they buy around $4). I figured an 100% margin would be more than satisfing but you never know.
 

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How much honey do you have to sell? How many stores are you thinking of selling to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I still have a good amount left and I know a couple people who still have some. I have an opportunity at about 20 stores
 

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20 stores? That's a lot. Are you going to have enough honey to keep all of them supplied all year around?
 

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Nate I wish you well in your journey wholesaling to chains. Some other issues you may encounter is an expiration date, FDA inspection, HACCP(?). Along with that several near us want you to buy shelf space for your product. My guess is they will be closer to a $2.00/$3.99 deal. Hoping you have a kinder, gentler chain to deal with.

Keep us posted.
 

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Nate, the way I started selling honey to stores was to begin with small local Pop and Mom kinds of grocery stores. I asked them what they paid for their honey and told them that I could sell my honey to them for that same price. That's what I did to get my toe in the door, to get my honey on their shelf.

Were I to do it again I would start by figuring out what it cost me to produce, package, and label a case of jars and then talk to the Grocery Store. If my asking price is too high I'd ask them what they would pay for it and figure out whether I could live with that price. And go from there.

Keep in mind that the final customer is the one that really "tells" you whether your price is too high or not. Not the store owner. And once you get your honey on the shelf it will take a couple of months before customers will see it, buy it, and return for a second purchase. It takes time.

From what you have written it seems as though you don't yet have enough honey to keep your honey on more than one store's shelves all year round. So start with just one and get some experience under your belt. Then you will have a track record that you can show to your next customer/grocery store owner. And you can use the first store owner as a reference.

Get that Bar Code. You may not have to have it, but it can be a deal breaker. Especially if you are hoping to sell to a Chain Grocery. Very few of my outlets don't use bar code scanners.

Do not do commissions. If the store isn't willing to buy your honey then don't sell it to them. I "guarantee" the sale by being willing to buy the honey back if it doesn't sell fast enough or well enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good advice and things to think about coopermaple and sqkcrk. I think the hardest part was trying to figure out my expenses in a pound of honey so that I'd know how to price it. I think I went about it the right way but time will tell
 

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Nate along with sqkck I would suggest working your way up. Some of the chain stores give local store managers the ability to put a local product on the shelf. You probably would have to stock and manage inventory but can be a way to get a foot in the door. A specialty product may have more appeal to them than just another commodity.

A piece of advice we got over 25 years ago with one of our other businesses from a man who had 40+ years buying and selling to chain stores. "If you sell to supermarkets you are guaranteed to be selling at the lowest possible profit margin, provided you are actually selling at a profit"
 

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"If you sell to supermarkets you are guaranteed to be selling at the lowest possible profit margin, provided you are actually selling at a profit
Most of the time, direct retail is the only profitable way to sell honey. I pass the word that I have honey for sale and within a month, it is all sold. Having a greenhouse and bees sitting on my front porch helps because the people buying plants see the bees and ask for honey. I tell them to come back in August and I'll have fresh local honey for sale and tell them the price so they know what to expect. Good honey sells itself!
 

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And...one other thing that may come up....product liability insurance. Many chains will have a minimum requirement. Just an added expense.
 

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Sure, there is always a market for the cheapest honey in a store, but I wouldn't just assume honey sales in large chains go strictly to the cheapest. Stores care about the ratio of gross sales dollars to shelf space. If you can garner sales by placing a product that has great eye appeal and you can differentiate it from the competition as being unique (local) then all the better for both parties if your price is somewhat higher.
 
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