How Mr. Checkout began…
In the 1980’s, I was a sales rep for a major cookie and cracker company in New England. One of my responsibilities was to contact and sell independent and small chain convenience stores on our product lines.
As I became familiar with these c-store retailers, I observed a major void of high volume checkout counter products at high margins for the retailer. They were also running out of best-sellers and unable to restock from their candy / tobacco distributor without overstocking because of the minimum orders imposed.
After several trips to the major c-store tradeshows in NY and Las Vegas, I left my 9 to 5 job and began offering fast-turning checkout counter merchandise to c-stores, with no minimum order, in my region. Batteries, lighters, air fresheners, cigarette rolling papers, home office supplies, novelties, sunglasses and HBC (health & beauty care) items were many of the strongest categories. The average sale was $75 to $100 at wholesale every week in most stores.
The independent groceries and c-stores were delivered by a service van weekly DSD (direct store delivery) and restocked with these fast turning items at deep-discounted wholesale pricing way below what these independent retailers were paying from the major candy & tobacco distributors. They loved the service!
After a few years, I began expanding throughout New England into Upper State NY. As a consultant, not a franchise, I assisted both new and established wagon-jobbers / small distributors with finding the best wholesale-to-distributor warehouses and product manufacturers willing to work with them and get into a fast growing convenience store industry.
Each jobber had complete autonomy as I would recommend and assist them with product selection and selling accounts by door to door solicitation. If we together went into 20 c-stores a day with our products we would end up with a hand-full of good accounts that were willing to buy from us weekly. At the end of an exhausting week of on-the-job training, we would have 30 plus c-stores to get the route started. It was not long before that jobber has over 100 c-stores buying his or her merchandise weekly. This was the beginning of the Mr. Checkout association of independent wagon jobbers.
Within a decade, Mr. Checkout grew coast-to-coast working as a team to find the best checkout products and suppliers. As our strength grew, so did the suppliers that wanted to join us to reach the independent convenience store industry nationwide.
And so it began.
Posted by Bob Goldstein, Founder