Meijer is seeking more locally sourced products.
The food retailer said it would host first virtual Localization Summit, giving local businesses across the retailer's six-state footprint the opportunity to showcase their offerings to Meijer merchants.
"We are proud to be a Midwestern retailer and want to carry products that highlight our communities," said Peter Whitsett, Meijer EVP of merchandising and marketing. "Each Meijer store should represent its customers and the community that makes those customers unique. This event gives us the chance to source products from our customers' hometowns, which makes their shopping experience even more meaningful."
The April 1 virtual event will focus on the following categories:
- Grocery, including fresh, deli and bakery
- Beauty and personal care
- Over-the-counter and wellness
Businesses that manufacture or grow retail-ready products in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan or Wisconsin can apply by Feb. 19 for consideration here.
"Many small, local businesses offer great products but can be hesitant to approach a major retailer because they are not necessarily ready to distribute to hundreds of stores," said Jamie Akemann, group vice president of global sourcing, indirect procurement, supplier diversity and product quality at Meijer. "This is the perfect opportunity for those businesses. The point of this summit is to bring in local businesses and accommodate what they can do now, while also building a partnership to help them grow in the future."
This event comes on the heels of the retailer's successful Supplier Diversity Summit in November, during which Meijer merchants met with nearly 250 diverse suppliers to diversify their vendor base and better serve their customers. These events are part of the retailer's ongoing efforts to enhance the diversity of its business partners and amplify growth in its communities.
Meijer is partnering with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe, to host this event through the company's ECRM Connect virtual platform. It's the same platform that was used during the fall Supplier Diversity Summit.
Once applications for the event are submitted, Meijer teams will review and select the vendors they would like to meet at the virtual summit. Suppliers not chosen for the summit will still be accessible through the RangeMe registration tool and may be reviewed by Meijer merchants again in the future as business needs change.
While they may not qualify for April's event, local vendors carrying services or products outside of the categories mentioned above are encouraged to submit their information for consideration through the retailer's prospective vendor page.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer operates more than 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 19 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.