February 14, 2014
Tamra Tootle 500px
BI-LO District Director Tamra Tootle​

When BI-LO District Director Tamra Tootle takes time to reflect on the impacts of Black History Month, she remembers George Washington Carver Elementary School, and her curiosity as a child about the nearby school’s namesake.

She said that after a little research, she was amazed by the impacts the scientist, botanist, educator and inventor made on modern life and how much he changed food offerings even to this day. He invented hundreds of food and nonfood uses for peanuts and other crops commonly grown in the South.

Tootle said she was in awe of the importance of Carver’s work, although she could never have guessed its influence in her life later on. Now she recognizes the impact that George Washington Carver made on her life – personally and professionally, she said.

“Almost everything that we sell in our grocery stores was made better because of George Washington Carver’s research,” Tootle said. “He was an amazing man and Black History Month allows us time to celebrate his life.”

Her thoughtful appreciation of Carver’s influence is no surprise to those who work closely with her. Tootle has a reputation for her positive contributions to BI-LO’s culture with employees and customers.

As one of the founders of BI-LO’s Women in Leadership and People of Color affinity groups, Tootle understands the importance of diversity in the workplace and appreciates the company’s dedication to the initiative.

Our stores make mirroring our community a pointed focus within our store teams,” she said. “This diverse employment representation highly engages our customers. This effort and result gives our business a competitive advantage because our customers embrace this level of diversity! This priority within our business model makes me and my peers very proud of BI-LO!”

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