A major principle of the retail business – “one cannot sell from an empty wagon”.
Inventory management was always an ongoing challenge. We simply did not want to be out of stock….out of stock=out of a sale.
Our biggest suppliers were Berkline, Stratford, Schweiger, and Chittendon & Eastman….all no longer in existence.
With Berkline (TN) and Stratford (MS) we bought in rail car loads…..because of the freight savings. Schweiger (WI) and Eastman House (IA) were in truckloads….being a days drive to MI.
The challenge was to get the right balance of products….even if we saved on freight….if the turnover rate wasn’t what it should be (or we simply made a mistake in style and/or fabric)…..we were stuck with slow movers.
While the sales reps liked carload buying….it was even more important for us to buy the right products. No trouble, of course, when we bought a rail car of 50 Berkline heater-vibrator recliners for a promotion!
Note: Our rail car loads were on the C & O (photo).