AVB SW Chapter Forms Separate Buying Group

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HENDERSON, TEXAS — Associated Volume Buyers (AVB), the nation's second-largest buying group, lost one of its 18 chapters on May 1, when the Southwest branch broke away to start an autonomous group.

The new group, called the Retail Dealers of America (RDA), has 386 members and is headquartered here.

RDA split from its parent group because the Southwest members thought its overall direction "needed to be a little more on the individual dealers and their competition in the marketplace," said Deryl Sewell, who has been named president/CEO of the new buying group.

In particular, he said, the members complained about AVB's wholesale financing of goods, and felt breaking away would offer the individual retailers more control over their businesses.

Bob Lawrence, AVB executive director, said he was dismayed by the chapter's decision. "Our industry does not need more buying groups," he said. "More groups increase manufacturers' costs."

However, Sewell said he is not worried his group would lose buying power from leaving the larger group. "We do have a lot of volume," he said. "The volume of the Southwest chapter was as much as some of the other buying groups. Are we going to lose some [buying power], sure, but we're also going to gain some."

Likewise, he said he didn't think AVB would lose any buying power from the decreased membership.

When all is said and done, Sewell said, the group needs to concentrate its energy and resources in competing against "the Lowe's in our markets."

He added, "Now the handcuffs are off, so we can actually grow our group on a national basis."

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