How Do Retail Stores Find Suppliers?


The connection between retail stores and wholesale suppliers is vital. By finding the right wholesale suppliers, retail stores can sell the right products for a profit. Failing to find the right suppliers means a more limited product selection and smaller profits.

So, how do retail stores find suppliers?

Places Retail Stores Find Suppliers

There are a few places where retail stores commonly find suppliers.


Many online directories exist to help retailers locate suppliers. These specifically serve as a go-between point for retail stores.

On top of this, search engines give access to even more options. Through them, it is possible to find a great online store.

Benefits of sourcing products online include:

  • Variety of options: Nearly everything is online. Through enough searching, retailers can find exactly what they want.
  • International possibilities: An online search will often uncover international wholesale suppliers and online retailers that local sources wouldn’t show.

Trade Shows

Trade shows are another avenue for retail stores looking for wholesale suppliers. These shows give suppliers a place to showcase the goods they offer. Retailers can then attend the show and see all the different supplier options they can access.

Benefits of trade shows include:

  • Variety: Many different trade shows specialize in many other products.
  • Hands-on approach: At a trade show, retailers often have an opportunity to interact directly with the products suppliers offer.
  • Special deals: Retailers may be able to find some deals only at trade shows.

Trade Publications

Many trades offer publications for manufacturers and wholesalers from that industry. These are magazines or booklets that highlight products and offerings from those suppliers. Retail store supply wholesale options are trendy from these sources.

Benefits of trade publications include:

  • Passive access: With a trade publication, retailers don’t need to hunt down possible suppliers. Instead, they get a convenient list of options delivered to them. 
  • Specialized options: Most trade publications are highly specialized and give more specific options.


Even in the age of digital information and e-commerce business, word of mouth is still incredibly valuable. Retail stores can find new wholesale suppliers by simply talking with other retail stores and learning who their suppliers are.

For example, imagine someone who has previously worked with Atlantic Dominion Distributors. If they had a good experience, they would likely recommend the company to others.

Benefits of finding wholesale vendors through referrals include:

  • Trust: A referral typically indicates a level of trust. So, a supplier that others refer to has a record of success.
  • No searching required: Getting a referral from someone eliminates spending time searching for suppliers.

US Customs Database

Almost all companies that import products into the US are in the US Customs Database, which is a treasure trove of potential suppliers.

A potential benefit of searching the US Customs Database includes:

  • Hidden possibilities: Finding a supplier through databases like these opens the doors for suppliers that aren’t featured anywhere else. Doing so means potentially finding options that spend less on advertising and more on successful operations.

How To Find Suppliers

Retail stores should follow a few steps to find suppliers:

  • Determine your needs: Before looking for suppliers, you must determine what you are looking for. Think about the products you need and the demands you have for your supplier.
  • Develop a purchase plan: With your needs determined, you are ready to develop a purchase plan. A plan like this will serve as your guide for the purchase process.
  • Search for options: You can do this through any of the options listed in the previous section.

Finding the right wholesale suppliers doesn’t have to be difficult. Following along with the options listed above makes it easy to create a connection between retail stores and suppliers. Through this connection, both sides benefit.

Looking for a wholesale food and beverage supplier that will meet your needs? Give Atlantic Dominion Distributors in Virginia Beach, VA, a call at (757) 497-1001 to learn more about our services.