August 08, 2014
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Local Business Manager Adonis Paseiro is interviewed by Mobile TV station WPMI.​

In January, BI-LO kicked off “BI-LOcal” in Charleston, South Carolina, where local suppliers were invited to present their products to the BI-LO merchandising and buying team with the hopes of earning a spot on BI-LO shelves. Approximately 20 vendors presented their products, and now BI-LO stores in the Charleston area carry local products ranging from honey and crab dip to sauce and seasoning.

After a second successful BI-LOcal event in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the buying team decided it was time to expand the program to the Winn-Dixie banner. Last month, “Winn-Local” made its debut in Mobile, Alabama.

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

“This program has done really well in BI-LO markets, so we wanted to grow it by implementing it into Winn-Dixie’s footprint as well, starting with the Gulf Coast,” said Derek Lott, senior director of supplier diversity. “By featuring local products in each of our stores, we hope to share and encourage the culture of the area.”

Approximately 13 Mobile area vendors were invited to pitch their products to the buying team July 24. Items included finished goods, pre-packaged products and general merchandise such as sauces, packaged frozen foods, cleaning products and health and beauty items.

“Being local is such a big part of our mission,” said Lynn Rushing, New Orleans District 2 Director. “Winn-Local provided a great opportunity for the people of our community to come out and possibly have their products be on the shelves at Winn-Dixie. It was an exciting day.”

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 their products into select stores.

Photos: Mobile vendors present their products to the Local Buying Team.

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