General Services secretary touts state purchasing program for small businesses
Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Sheri Phillips speaking to Ed and Heidi Sroka before a meeting Friday hosted by the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce. (Vicki Rock / April 26, 2013)
Aldom is seeing a change under current Gov. Tom Corbett. His comments came in his introduction of Pennsylvania Department of General Services Secretary Sheri Phillips, who spoke at a public meeting Friday at the Somerset County Office Building.
The commonwealth buys $3 billion worth of goods and services annually, Phillips said. Previously the state purchased in volume to get a quantity discount. That prevented small businesses from selling to the state.
"We have the COSTARS cooperative purchasing program that will help small businesses," she said.
Businesses interested in state contracts must first get a vendor identification number and then register as a COSTARS contractor. When a state agency wants to buy anything, those registered businesses are sent a notification that an agency wants to purchase something that is a product within those businesses' field of service. Projects are divided into tiers so a business is bidding against businesses of similar size.
Small businesses are those with 100 employees or fewer. They must meet maximum revenue requirements.
Aldom asked if farmers here could contact the Department of General Services when they have a large amount of produce that must be sold before it goes bad. The time factor will be the issue, Phillips said, as the farmers must first be registered as a certified vendor.
A complete listing of the contracts available to COSTARS members is available online at www.dgs.state.pa.us/costars.
Local municipalities can buy federal surplus property through the Bureau of Supplies and Surplus Operations. They must first fill out an application for eligibility. For more information call 717-787-9724.