Meijer Calls On BIPOC Michigan Business Owners to Submit Products

Retailer partners with Start Garden on event to enhance supplier diversity
Meijer Diversity & Inclusion logo

Meijer will host a supplier diversity product presentation event in September, giving Michigan businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color the opportunity to showcase their offerings for interested Meijer merchants.

The event will leverage the retailer's partnership with Start Garden, a Grand Rapids-based business incubator focused on empowering startups through financial, intellectual and social capital. It will be the fourth supplier diversity event the retailer has hosted since 2020.

"Our supplier diversity efforts represent an ongoing commitment to our customers and team members to offer products and invest in partnerships that represent them and their communities," said Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing for Meijer. "We look forward to expanding our product assortment and creating a positive economic impact in our communities through this event."

The multiday event will take place in person and will focus on the following categories: apparel, footwear and accessories; and general merchandise.

Black, Indigenous and people of color-owned Michigan-based businesses with retail-ready products in those categories can apply by Aug. 27 for consideration.

"After the success of our first three virtual supplier diversity events, we're excited to try something a little different by focusing on local brands and offering a live opportunity for these vendors to build relationships with our team," said Jamie Akemann, group VP of global sourcing, indirect procurement, supplier diversity and product quality for Meijer.

Once applications for the event are submitted, the Start Garden and Meijer teams will review and select the vendors to participate in the September event. There, Meijer merchants will meet with chosen vendors to learn more about their products, business models and plans for growth through 5-minute presentations. After getting to know the participants, Meijer merchants will award retail opportunities to vendors ready to expand into Meijer stores with products that will best serve its customers.

Vendors who are not ready to receive business offers at that time, will be invited to the retailer's upcoming Roadmap to Retail event to learn more important skills to help them succeed in the future. Through this event, Meijer plans to nurture long-term relationships with vendors and help them grow into future partners.

In addition to partnering with Meijer to host this event, Start Garden is also one of the retailer's racial inequity investment partners. In 2020, Start Garden was one of 22 agencies across the Midwest to share in a $5 million investment from Meijer to bring about a future of hope, equality and respect in Black and African American communities.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 257 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.


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