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Better With Age

There's nothing new under the sun that doesn't scare retailers.

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This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Who wants to be the first retailer to buy a new product from an inventor--the first to have the next Pokémon or Beanie Baby on his or her shelves? Most inventors will tell you the answer: nobody.

Not surprisingly, retailers are reluctant to buy from new companies. For starters, they don't like to take on small, one-product businesses because of the work involved in setting up and maintaining new vendors. But the main reason is that retailers don't want to get stuck with left-over inventory. Though retailers typically send products back to their suppliers when they don't sell them, they worry about not receiving rebates from smaller inventors.

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