Small retailers can work with manufacturers that offer unique products and buy closeout lots that would be too small for mass merchants, said Dollar Days executives at IRCE 2008.

66% of independent stores opened their doors after large retail chains moved into their local communities and 50% had the confidence to do so because of plans to offer unique items, said Marc Joseph, president of Dollar Days International, who presented the survey results last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2008 in Chicago.

To find these unique products, retailers can look to the Internet, Joseph told attendees at the session Product Sourcing: The Web’s Important Role for Retailers.

The Internet has evolved to make it easier for businesses to find wholesale suppliers, said Joseph. Many suppliers and wide assortments of goods can be found at such wholesale portals as,,,,,,, and, Joseph said.

Small and mid-sized retailers have certain advantages over big retailers in that they can work with small manufacturers that produce unique items and because they can buy lots of closeout merchandise that may be too small for large retailers, Joseph said

When buying closeout items, retailers should beware of counterfeit merchandise. Deal only with reputable vendors and be willing to turn down merchandise that is priced unreasonably low, Joseph said.