Carecraft and Pool Corp (formerly SCP) have reached an agreement that will allow members of the buying group to make purchases through the pool industry distributor.

Officials from both organizations said that on the surface, the arrangement might seem like an odd alliance because buying groups often are viewed as competition for distributors. However, both said that the deal, cut late last month, makes sense.

“With Carecraft, there are times when it’s impractical for a member to make purchases through the group,” said Greg Howard, CEO of the Anaheim, Calif.-based buying group. “For example, if you’re doing service work and all you need is a pump or an impeller for a repair job today, you don’t want to wait for it or have to order a lot of them.”

The deal enables Carecraft members to buy smaller quantities of parts and equipment at local Pool Corp and Superior distribution warehouses, and take advantage of price incentives provided specifically by the agreement.

Dave Cook, group vice president at Covington, La.-based Pool Corp. said that the organizations have learned to appreciate the benefits they can provide each other.

“In the past, they thought that we were anti-buying group and we thought they were anti-distributor, but each has grown to appreciate the other’s value,” he said. “For example, when you are buying directly from manufacturers, you have to handle your own warranties and freight claims. In this alliance, that is something we could handle for them.”

In addition, Cook noted that Pool Corp has an array of training programs that will now be made available to Carecraft members.

“We bring builder, retailer and service programs that can enhance their operations,” he said. “We can help with lead generation or flat-rate pricing for the service trade and things like direct mail and dealing with the national media. We have a 15,000-square-foot training facility in Texas with our own training staff.”

The deal requires no exclusivity on Pool Corp’s part. Carecraft, however, has agreed not to seek similar arrangements with any other distributor, according to Howard.