GRAND RAPIDS, MICH – Meijer plans to host its first virtual Localization Summit this April, 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, executive vice president 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 grocery, including fresh, deli and bakery, baby products, beauty and personal care, and 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 Friday, Feb. 19 for consideration here.
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.
"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."
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.
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.