Meijer seeks new products from local businesses

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Meijer seeks new products from local businesses

By Dan Berthiaume - 01/20/2021

A Midwest discount chain is hosting a virtual “Localization Summit” to discover new suppliers in its six-state footprint.

The virtual event will be held April 1, 2021, and focus on the categories of grocery, baby, beauty and personal care, and over-the-counter 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. 

Meijer is partnering with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe, to host this event through the ECRM Connect virtual platform. The retailer used the same platform during its fall 2020 virtual Supplier Diversity Summit, when Meijer merchants met with nearly 250 diverse suppliers to diversify its vendor base.

An increasing number of retailers, including Walmart, Staples, Lowe’s, QVC and HSN, and Hy-Vee, are also using virtual pitch competitions to discover new products and suppliers.

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, Meijer is encouraging local vendors carrying services or products outside of the official summit categories to submit their information for consideration through the retailer's prospective vendor page.

"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 VP 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 a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.