May 11, 2015
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Kizito Wademi, left, and his wife, Patricia, share their story on how they started KW Collards.​

Entrepreneurs from across North and South Carolina made the trek to Greenville, South Carolina April 17-18 for the opportunity to earn their products a space on BI-LO store shelves.

Greenville was the third location to host “BI-LOcal Carolinas”, an ongoing initiative that aims to connect customers to the highly innovative suppliers within their own communities by making local products more accessible. The 17 hopeful vendors each had 15 minutes to tell their story to a panel of BI-LO decision makers that included regional vice presidents, district directors, store directors and representatives from local buying and supplier diversity teams.

Products ranged from an 80-year-old peanut and popcorn brand to collard greens, sauces, salsas, soaps and even cleaning supplies.

Anita Tamme, a Greenville-based entrepreneur, presented her collection of specialty wines with unique flavors, such as Pineapple Riesling, Green Apple Gewurz and Dark Chocolate Red. She and her husband started making wine in their home several years ago, and now own City Scape Winery, a small batch winery on 12 acres in Pelzer, S.C.

“Our children said this business is our hobby gone stupid,” she said with a laugh.

Another hopeful vendor was Kizito Wademi, a native Kenyan and maker of a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly collard green product called KW Collards. The products currently are sold in gourmet food shops and specialty stores throughout North Carolina.

Wademi said friends and family encouraged him to jar and sell his collard greens after they tried his recipe featuring collards, tomatoes, onions, peppers, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and herbs and spices nestled in a savory broth.

“These things are amazing,” Fred Shropshier, regional vice president for BI-LO’s Greenville region, said of Wademi’s product.

BI-LO representatives will make their selections in the coming weeks and will notify selected vendors when they can begin selling in select stores throughout the Carolinas.

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Anita Tamme hopes to win over BI-LO representatives with her line of specialty wines, made in Pelzer, S.C.

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Cromers is an 80-year-old brand of peanuts, popcorn and other carnival foods, located in Columbia, S.C.

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