The Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative promotes an open exchange of information concerning the retail grocery industry, provides opportunity for professional growth, and contributes to the financial success of its members’ businesses.

Typically, independents do not have the same access to marketing resources, category management, and supply chain experience as chain store operations. Independents miss out on the resources that could be invested in programs targeting local needs and market conditions that would fuel increased sales and growth.

The cooperative’s value-based approach to the supply chain builds on existing relationships to meet the market and business needs of independent retailers and is a win/win for all parties.


Membership in the IRSS Cooperative helps independents become more resilient partners.

  • Business assistance helps independents make quick adjustments to a rapidly changing marketplace and industry.
  • Marketing assistance complements supplier merchandising programs.
  • Marketing strategies targeting independents’ unique customer demographics improve fit with suppliers and lead to increased sales and profitability.
  • Leveraging the strengths of independents in their local markets maximizes promotional incentives and co-branding opportunities.

Technical business assistance and a range of custom services to member retailers and suppliers.

  • Strategic business plans.
  • New business leads.
  • Supply chain reviews.
  • Store specific merchandising.
  • Trade fund optimization.

“In 2011, CEI began a specialty lending program called the Healthy Food Finance Initiative, supporting Maine’s independent grocers and making connections to Maine’s food producers. Mark Sprackland and the IRSSC quickly became key go-to resources. Mark brings significant sector expertise to the table to strengthen these critical community assets. CEI is proud to support the cooperative and the work it does to sustain vibrant, robust grocers across the region.”

Daniel Wallace, Program Developer, Sustainable Agriculture, CEI