Natural Foods Merchandiser

Independent retailer group gathering steam

Natural Synergies, a network of more than 160 independent retailers, is hoping to have 200 members by the end of the year. The group currently has a combined buying power of almost $200 million.

Natural Synergies Vice President of Vendor Services Jeff Wolfson, an independent natural products retailer and former director of purchasing for the Rite Aid chain, will develop exclusive discount and promotional programs for Natural Synergies members. "He knows the challenges for being a small retailer and has the buying skills he developed at Rite Aid," said Steven Hoffman, marketing communications director for Natural Synergies.

Wolfson said the network has partnered with UNFI, and on the East Coast, regional sales manager Pete Stoyan would be UNFI's point person for communications and special needs of Natural Synergies.

Hoffman will help members coordinate with point-of-sales-system providers, media, market research and retail consulting services. He will also organize member meetings and will edit and publish member newsletters and consumer fliers.

The Authentic Independent Health Retailers Association encouraged its 55 members to join the network to take advantage of the benefits both organizations can provide.

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