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Veterinary Cooperative marks fifth year in business

2,600 member practices agree the price is right.

Veterinary Cooperative marks fifth year in business
Rich Morris is CEO of The Veterinary Cooperative.

Aiming to recruit 2,000 members within a decade, The Veterinary Cooperative reached the mark in less than five years.

Celebrating its fifth anniversary Sept. 4, the not-for-profit cooperative today has more than 2,600 member veterinary practices that benefit from discounts and rebates they might not be eligible for otherwise.

“Cooperatives are a way for independent business owners to compete against growing corporate consolidation, which takes place in all industries eventually,” said TVC’s founding CEO, Rich Morris, MBA. “Corporations have the negotiating muscle to get better pricing.”

Manufacturers and distributors working with The Veterinary Cooperative see a payoff, too. TVC members in 2016 ordered $141 million in goods and services through 100 vendor programs.

Rebates and discounts totaled $11 million, a portion of which is redirected to TVC to pay for operating expenses. Any profits — $600,000 in 2016 — are distributed to members as year-end dividends.

Morris set the goal of signing up 2,000 members within 10 years, a target he happily missed.

“I felt that to provide all TVC member-owners with marketing support, education, best business practices and competitive pricing, TVC would need to eventually get to 5,000 member-owners,” he said. “That dream is now within our sights within the next few years, way ahead of any predictions I could have made in 2012.”

Started by four veterinarians and Morris, the cooperative is not a group purchasing organization. The major reason why is that the Evanston, Illinois, organization is owned by its members, who do not pay dues or fees.

“The pace … to 5,000 [members] is much quicker today as businesses realize the need to change and compete with the latest business tools to succeed and thrive, and veterinarians have quickly come to this realization,” Morris said.