Smaller Cases Means More to the Pallet-Load at Great Lakes Wholesale

For dollar stores and other independent retailers looking for greater value from a wholesale supplier, Great Lakes Wholesale in Grand Rapids, MI, is worth contacting. The company sells popular items by the pallet-load, but because their case sizes are smaller than their competitors’, they can offer more goods per pallet shipped. “We sell to a variety of retailers, including Mom & Pops, trucks stops, dollar stores, hardware stores, groceries, gas stations, and others,” says Gary MacDougal, chairman of the company. “Anyone with space on their floor can make money with our products.”

The vast majority of what Great Lakes stocks is what MacDougal calls “continuity items,” those goods that retailers order again and again because they know they’ll sell. “About 80% of what we carry are the continuity items, mostly private label and manufacturer’s items,” MacDougal says. “Our customers are folks looking for something that offers extreme value in comparison to the national brands.” MacDougal is forthright about his best-selling items. “Right now it’s toilet paper,” he says with a laugh, “but all our paper products are huge. And we do a tremendous amount of food business,” he adds. Surprisingly, fig bars are the company’s highest selling food item at the moment. “We offer a large selection of food items,” MacDougal says. “About 40% of our sales are in food.”

Carrying about 3,000 different items, MacDougal says the company changes out about 100 to 200 products per month, and has a “New Items” button on its homepage that’s updated daily. Great Lakes also offers a “Check Order Status” option where buyers can see how close their order is to arriving. “We just need a verified e-mail address for new customers,” MacDougal says. And what about special offers for new customers? “It’s done on a case-by-case basis,” he says. “But we’re interested in making whatever works for the customer, work.”

–Rory J. Thompson

For More Information:
Great Lakes Wholesale and Marketing
3729 Patterson Avenue, SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Tel.: 616-261-9393
Fax: 616-261-2978