May 09, 2014
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Chattanooga vendor representatives give a presentation to a panel of BI-LO decision makers during the BI-Local initiative.​

BI-LO is giving entrepreneurs in Chattanooga, Tenn. the opportunity to have their products featured on area store shelves. The initiative, called “BI-LOcal,” kicked off last January in Charleston, S.C., where more than 15 local products were chosen for a spot on store shelves throughout the Low Country.

While BI-LO has been an ongoing supporter of homegrown business, the goal of the BI-LOcal initiative is to expand local offerings, while making a concentrated effort to support a diverse group of vendors, including women and other minority-owned businesses.

Twenty-seven vendors from Chattanooga and the surrounding area presented their products to a panel of BI-LO decision-makers April 24 and 25. Products ranged from everyday household items and pet food to sauces, marinades and specialty drinks.

“We wanted to bring the program to Chattanooga next, because we knew the community had some of the best local offerings and a tight-knit community,” said Local Business Manager Nicole Hatfield. “By featuring local products in each of our stores, we hope to share and encourage the culture of the area.”

The buying team will spend the next couple of weeks making final decisions. Once vendors are notified, they will immediately begin the process of getting into select stores.

To continue the outreach to the Chattanooga community, BI-LO sponsored the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Southside Council meeting on May 1, where Bi-Lo Holdings Vice President of Sales & Marketing Henry Ferris spoke to members about recent changes to the company and how BI-LO's call for local product placement and distribution is important to the growth of the Chattanooga economy.

BI-LO store No. 5427 catered an impressive lunch for 40 members of the Chamber, complete with sub sandwiches, fruit, chips, potato salad, cookies and tea. By providing lunch, members of the Southside Council were able to put funds toward the purchase of new computers for lower-income children through local nonprofit, The Bethlehem Center. In addition, BI-LO was named the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the Month.”

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