Schnuck Markets on Wednesday announced the launch of a supplier diversity initiative to promote supplier participation reflective of the diverse communities throughout the Midwest in which the grocery retailer operates.
St. Louis-based Schnucks operates 112 stores, serving customers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
In the coming weeks and months, the retailer said that merchandising leaders will be working to identify local suppliers that are at least 51% owned, operated and managed by individuals that are: disabled, LGBT, military veterans, minorities and/or women. To accomplish this, Schnucks is partnering with ECRM and RangeMe, firms whose goal is to bring small suppliers together with retailers.
This expansion in diverse supplier reach is part of the company’s overall diversity, equity and inclusion plan, “Unity Is Power.” Through the plan, Schnucks reinforces the company’s responsibility to strive for inclusion and equity, not only for teammates, customers and communities, but also for its network of thousands of vendors.
“Schnucks is focused on nourishing people's lives, not only by helping our customers to feed and care for their families, but also by actively working to strengthen our communities,” said Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck. “We believe that investing in diverse suppliers aligns with our company’s values and supports our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.”
To assist Schnucks in the effort for equity and inclusion, ECRM and RangeMe, together, are helping to source, qualify and connect diverse suppliers with the appropriate Schnucks buyers. All sourcing and product submissions will be made through RangeMe, a product discovery and sourcing platform, and ECRM will qualify suppliers, create curated meeting schedules and facilitate face-to-face meeting execution with Schnucks buyers in an effort to drive diverse suppliers into the marketplace. All of this is fueled by ECRM’s client support teams that help to make sure buyer and seller connections are executed seamlessly, the company said.
“We are excited to partner with such an innovative retailer on an initiative that will shine a light on up-and-coming diverse suppliers,” said Wayne Bennett, senior vice president of retail for ECRM. “Schnucks’ pledge to improve and strengthen their local communities through supplier diversity is something we are honored and eager to assist with.”
As demonstrated through Schnucks’ recent partnerships with St. Louis-area Black-owned restaurants, the Schnucks supplier diversity program will promote an inclusive approach by investing in these and other diverse businesses by introducing their products into the company’s stores.
“We want our suppliers to be more reflective of the communities we serve,” said Schnucks Director of Supplier Diversity and Category Planning Adrian Moore. “It is imperative to work with diverse suppliers in order to bring our customers the products they are looking for when they visit our stores, and also to do our part to support equity and inclusion in our communities.”
Suppliers wishing to participate in this diversity initiative can visit https://rangeme.com/schnucksdiversity for more information.
Retailers nationwide have expanded their diversity efforts this year, including a number who have created and filled the positions of diversity leaders in their companies. Kroger last month enacted a sweeping plan to promote diversity and inclusion, while Target has made a commitment to increase the number of Black team members by 20% over the next three years.
Last week, Midwest supercenter retailer Meijer held its first virtual Supplier Diversity Summit to give diverse-owned businesses from across the country the opportunity to showcase and pitch their offerings to Meijer merchants “looking to bring the next great item onto their shelves.”