Following the success of Meijer’s first virtual Supplier Diversity Summit on Nov. 12, where it met with nearly 250 diverse suppliers, the retailer is once again looking to source new products at its next vendor recruitment event, taking place May 4-6. By extending the event to multiple days, Meijer merchants expect to meet with even more diverse-owned businesses.
"Our Supplier Diversity Summit was incredibly successful, and we are excited to begin working with many new partners as a result," said Jamie Akemann, Group VP of indirect procurement and supplier diversity. "However, it takes time to go from meeting a new vendor partner to carrying their product in hundreds of stores. By holding this second event and future supplier diversity events, we ensure a consistent flow of new products and partnerships that empower diverse suppliers and create positive economic impacts in our communities."
The event will focus on the following categories:
- Beauty and personal care
- Over-the-counter and wellness
- General merchandise
Certified minority-, LGBTQ-, woman-, veteran- and disability-owned businesses with retail-ready products in those categories can apply by March 8 for consideration through Solon, Ohio-based Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing’s (ECRM) RangeMe product sourcing platform.
After applications for the event are submitted, Meijer teams will review and select the vendors they would like to meet with virtually through the ECRM Connect meeting platform. Suppliers not chosen will still be accessible through RangeMe and may be reviewed by Meijer merchants again in the future as business needs change.
Retailers across the nation are upping their commitment to strive for inclusion and equity, not just for their employees, customers and communities, but also for their vendors. Other food retailers incorporating new initiatives aimed at bringing more diverse-owned brands to the shelves include Schnuck Markets Inc. and Giant Food.
"Supplier diversity, much like our overarching diversity and inclusion efforts, is not about checking boxes or a 'one and done' mentality — it's about ensuring our partnerships reflect our customers and communities," noted Peter Whitsett, Meijer EVP of merchandising and marketing. "By continuing to recruit diverse vendors through these events, we are creating a pipeline of diverse partners that will better serve our customers and communities for years to come."
In a further effort to ensure its partnerships highlight the communities it serves, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer will also hold its first virtual Localization Summit on April 1 to give local businesses across the retailer's Midwestern footprint the opportunity to showcase their offerings to Meijer merchants.