November 05, 2015

Jerome Brown’s barbecue sauce has come a long way from when it was only available to customers at the Jerome Brown Barbecue and Wings Restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida.

When Winn-Dixie forged a partnership with the Brown family to sell their sauce in stores, it formed a supplier relationship with a truly local small business—and it’s helping that business grow and give back to the community in which it operates.

For more than a year, the BI-Local and Winn-Local programs have given opportunities to local product vendors to get their products on our store shelves to market in their communities.

For the Browns, the partnership has proved successful on many levels. And recently, the First Coast Business Alliance recognized Katrina Brown, the product namesake’s daughter, its vice president of development and a Jacksonville City Council member, as part of the organization’s celebration of successful First Coast minority businesses during this year’s Minority Enterprise Development Week.

“It’s not just her family business, she’s focusing on growing minority businesses,” said Beth Tramel, Duval County Public Schools Office of Economic Opportunity supervisor and First Coast Business Alliance president. “That’s what she’s focusing on as a member of the (city) council.”

Southeastern Grocers Senior Director of Supplier Diversity Derek Lott said he’s glad the company is a part of the Brown family’s success story.

“The hard work that we’ve been doing on Winn-Local and BI-local across the company really has been brought about because of the move of our customers to want more local products,” he said. “Jerome Brown is well known as a local barbecue place, and now customers are picking up (the barbecue sauce) at our Winn-Dixie stores. And because of that, they were acknowledged for their growth in the community. We are proud to be part of helping small businesses grow their businesses in the community. They’re hiring resources from the Jacksonville area.”

Katrina Brown said her family appreciates the opportunity that Winn-Dixie gave them when their product was picked for store shelves via Winn-Local.

“What’s really great about it is we are a local manufacturing company, and it’s really great that a local grocer gives local vendors an opportunity to reach their market.”

Brown mentioned the opportunity Winn-Dixie gave her family’s company during the September award ceremony.

“I wanted to highlight that someone is doing great things in the community,” she said. “Winn-Dixie not only talks about it, but actually does something.”

This event was part of the national observance of the 32nd Annual MEDWeek, a joint collaboration of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which recognizes to contributions minority businesses make to the U.S. economy.

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