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Meijer_fresh_foods_departments-2022_vendor_localization_summit.jpg Meijer
Slated for July, Meijer's second virtual localization summit will showcase vendors that manufacture or grow retail-ready products in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Meijer to bring Midwestern suppliers back into the spotlight

Lift Local Supplier Event to focus on regional vendors in food, nonfood categories

This summer, Meijer plans to hold its second virtual localization summit, in which grocery and other vendors from across the supercenter retailer’s Midwestern market will showcase their wares to its buyers and procurement teams.

The Lift Local Supplier Event, scheduled for July 19 to 21, will focus on categories such as grocery (including fresh, deli and bakery), baby care, beauty and personal care, and over-the-counter health and wellness products. Businesses manufacturing or growing retail-ready products in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin that would like to participate in the virtual showcase must apply by May 20, Meijer said yesterday.

“Our partnerships with vendors in our footprint allow us to directly impact our local economies,” Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Meijer, said in a statement. “By featuring local products, we’re able to support small businesses while providing our customers with a greater sense of community, offering items that resonate with their values and culture. This event helps us find those unique products and continue sourcing locally.”

As in last year’s event, which was held April 1, Meijer is partnering with Solon, Ohio-based Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and RangeMe, its product discovery tool subsidiary, to host the event through the ECRM Connect virtual platform.

After applications are submitted, Meijer teams will review and select suppliers they would like to meet in the virtual summit. Vendors not chosen still will be accessible via the RangeMe registration tool and may be reviewed by Meijer merchants again in the future, the retailer said. Local vendors carrying services or products outside of the summit categories can submit their information for consideration through Meijers Vendor Hub web page.

“After a successful first event, we're excited to further grow our community of local business vendors,” commented Jamie Akemann, group vice president of global sourcing, indirect procurement, supplier diversity and product quality at Meijer. “This isn’t just an opportunity for fully developed brands but a chance for us to build relationships with small, local businesses and invest in their long-term success.”

In late March, Meijer held its third Supplier Diversity virtual event, also through RangeMe, in which its buyers and procurement staff met with more than 200 certified minority-, LGBTQ+-, woman-, veteran- and disability-owned businesses to further diversify the retailer’s vendor base. And earlier this month, Meijer announced plans to hold its hosting its first Sustainability Supplier Summit, an online vendor showcase of sustainable products via RangeMe.

Overall, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 258 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.

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