Partner with the Best of the Best

The 40-plus member stores of the CRA conduct almost a billion dollars each year in resale business and routinely purchase goods and services from thousands of suppliers. Only a few are invited to become CRA strategic partners.

The CRA's Partnering Philosophy

Every partner of the CRA is a leader in its field, philosophically aligned with the CRA and committed to long-term continuous improvements. These leading suppliers agree to work with CRA members to help them deliver superior customer value and improve their bottom line through best-in-class supply channel efficiencies and performance – at the industry’s best terms and conditions.

Channel innovations such as the digital delivery of course materials and process refinements like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) help reduce total costs, ensure that products are in stock when needed, and streamline store operations.

Current Partner Programs

CRA-Missouri Book Services Partnership

CRA and MBS have developed a Premier Partnership program offering industry best terms to member stores. The parties have worked together to integrate the want list process, combining the power of VisualRATEX with the extensive MBS catalog of over 120,000 titles.

MBS is an industry leader in wholesale textbook distribution, offering eBooks, textbook rentals, and bin-and-hold ordering to streamline text book supply.

CRA-VitalSource Partnership

With the increasing importance of eLearning, CRA is pleased to have a partner in Vitalsource. Last academic year, students read over 1 billion pages of material with Vitalsource. With 90% of eBook text books available today, VitalSource offers purchase and rental options. The CRA program offers the highest margin available to Vitalsource customers, plus opportunities for bulk discounts based on faculty or institutional commitments.

Vitalsource is fully integrated with VisualRATEX enabling stores to select ebook options and sell them seamlessly through POS and eRATEX.

CRA-PartnerShip Shipping Program

Save on the shipments you send and receive


The CRA Shipping Program is a comprehensive inbound and outbound shipping program that combines simplicity, savings, and value for all CRA members. As the only shipping provider created by and for the college retail industry, PartnerShip works with nationally known carriers to provide unparalleled customer service and significant savings on every shipment.


Program highlights:

  • Savings up to 33%* on select FedEx® small package services

  • Savings of at least 70% on standard and guaranteed LTL freight shipments with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, and other reputable carriers

  • Competitive pricing on truckload, tradeshow, and expedited shipments using quality national and specialized carriers

  • Specialized services including inbound management, freight bill auditing, invoice consolidation, and more


*Includes a bonus 5% online processing discount. Full details available at

CRA-RedShelf Partnership

CRA is working with RedShelf to offer innovative models of digital content delivery to students.

RedShelf currently offer more than 200,000 titles from over 400 publishers including Cengage Learning, Macmillan Publishers, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson Education, John Wiley & Sons, and many more university and academic presses.

RedShelf offers CRA members a variety of eBook options, including 60, 90, 120, 180, ​and 360 day rental access. Because RedShelf technology is developed in HTML5, students can read materials on any device that has a contemporary web browser.

RedShelf is fully integrated with VisualRATEX enabling stores to select digital options and sell them seamlessly through POS and eRATEX.

CRA-UTC Partnership

CRA has partnered with UTC Retail to develop RATEX|POS, the next generation point-of-sale (POS) solution for CRA members. RATEX|POS is a full-featured POS solution, with an easy to use graphical interface, and complete administrative and management tools. Based on contemporary technologies, RATEX|POS is tightly integrated with existing RATEX software.

RATEX|POS is easy to use, and customized by RATEX and UTC to meet the business needs of CRA members.

CRA-Copia Partnership

With the growing importance of digital materials in higher education, CRA has partnered with Copia, a leader in the field.

Copia provides CRA members with access to almost 3 million titles from over 250 major and niche publishers. Copia Class offers a comprehensive and customizable instructional solution that meets the multi-faceted needs of faculty and students. Copia's LTI app allows institutions to easily integrate Copia Class into most LMS allowing the customization of course content with instructor assessments, in-line notes, and multimedia.

This partnership helps CRA members to provide exemplary content and tools to help faculty, institutions, and students meet their educational goals.

The state-of-the-art store management solution created by and for college stores

The industry’s most progressive suppliers, in long-term business relationships with CRA, that help us deliver products and services at the lowest possible cost

Best practice ideas being developed and put to use by CRA member teams and business partners

©Collegiate Retail Alliance - A Business Coalition of Independent College Stores Sharing Best Practices and Strategic Business Partnerships