MANHATTAN, KAS. — AIB International has reached agreement with the Resourceful Purchasers in Action (R.P.I.A.) Group on a partnership that will provide the AIB International School of Baking access to a niche market of retail bakers poised to expand their operations and who need professional training.

Based in Indianapolis and founded in September 2001, the R.P.I.A. is a cross between a trade group, a buying group, and an advisory group. The national group represents 97 member companies with more than 1,000 retail operations and an economic impact of $750 million in sales.

“Annual sales of $750,000 are the minimum for membership in the R.P.I.A.,” said Rick Crawford, managing partner of the R.P.I.A. “Gold members have retail sales of $1 million or more.”

Kirk O’Donnell, vice-president of education at the AIB, said the R.P.I.A. helps retail bakers save money by providing them with the infrastructure to get the best price on a variety of goods and services from ingredients to insurance. Dr. O’Donnell will participate in an R.P.I.A. program March 7 in Pittsburgh, where he said he plans to make expanding retail bakeries aware of AIB training resources, so they may continue to grow.