A little while ago, one of the highlights of the independent's year was SCoRE, NASCR?s own trade show. Many people have expressed a wish to bring it back again ? but it isn?t practical, as we have moved away from member benefits that are seen as more suited to buying groups.

Deal or ideal – you decide

The criticism that NASCR was half trade association and half buying group has taken away more than just SCoRE. I think there was a feeling at the time that, like a buying group, NASCR may have been taking a cut out of every sale. Although that wasn’t the case, I can’t see any harm in using money generated in a legitimate and ethical way to fund trade association activities such as lobbying and promoting good practice. Funnily enough, I note that buying groups are now drifting into trade association territory in various ways.

In the intervening years we have not pursued these deals for our members so that we might form better alliances with the dedicated buying groups. But the sense of completeness has gone from what we offer, however, and the gap has not been filled. It is quite obvious that indies value the deals more than the ideals and long-term goals of a pure trade association.

Non-members will complain and ask “Why doesn’t somebody do something about X problem?” But without any trade deals that might get them extra business or profit, retailers aren’t interested in paying money to join. Perhaps it is worth looking again at getting great deals for members. I would love to hear your views.

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