DALLAS — Doing business with minority- and women-owned suppliers can pay dividends for the retailers who approach it correctly, according to a panel called “Supplier Diversity: The Business Case,” at FMI2012 here on Monday.
“It is our feeling that if we have business partners that reflect the communities we operate in, we can better serve those communities,” said James Sturgis Jr., director of supplier diversity and trade relations at Ahold USA Retail .
Finding small suppliers in the communities where Ahold operates, he explained, can also help boost the economic fortunes of those communities.
“If the community is economically stagnant, the store is going to be economically stagnant,” Sturgis said.
In addition, he pointed out, small suppliers are often nimble and innovative, which can be an advantage for retailers who buy from them.
It is important for these suppliers to fit in with the business goals of the company, explained Sturgis and his co-panelist, Denise Thomas, director of corporate supplier diversity at Kroger Co.  Suppliers cannot expect minority ownership alone to be sufficient to gain shelf placement, they explained.