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Bi-Lo Hosts First Supplier Diversity Awards

MAULDIN, S.C. -- Bi-Lo Supermarkets here honored many minority- and women-owned businesses in its first Supplier Diversity Awards luncheon held recently in Greenville, S.C. More than 150 people, including company associates, brokers, and vendor partners, attended the event.

"Our goal is to create partnerships with our suppliers, to expand our understanding of the neighborhoods we serve, and to reach out to all of our customers through our products, promotions, and other resources," noted Bi-Lo/Bruno's president and c.e.o. Dean Cohagan at the event. The company intends for the awards to become an annual occasion.

Bi-Lo has cultivated relationships with Minority/Women Business Enterprises for many years. The retailer has been recognized by the Food Marketing Institute for its efforts.

However, two years ago the retailer made a concerted effort to attract and assist Minority/Women Business Enterprises, and to give them increased representation in its vendor base. Bi-Lo appointed Rondel Cuyler as manager of supplier diversity, a newly created position that has subsequently reported a ten-fold increase in the number of minority- and women-owned suppliers, according to the company.

Awards given at the luncheon included Class One winners, honoring companies that provided more than $1 million of goods or services to Bi-Lo. Those were CL Henderson, o2 Ideas, Muffin Mam, Hope's Cookies, Superbag, and Glory Foods. Class Two winners, which provided between $500,000 and $999,999 to the supermarket chain, included Ole Mexican and Tipton's. Class Three winners, which provided between $250,000 and $499,999, were Ruiz Foods, MDI, Freida's, La Bonita Ole, and TWT.

Tye Anthony, e.v.p. of marketing and merchandising, said in concluding the program, "Doing business with minority- and women-owned businesses is a win-win decision for Bi-Lo/Bruno's. It allows us to support a very significant percentage of suppliers, and demonstrates to our customers and associates the importance that we place on diversity and inclusion."

Bi-Lo/Bruno's operates more than 400 supermarkets in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.
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