January 30, 2015
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Representatives of Shuptrine's Twisted Products, right, pass out samples of “twisted” relish. ​

BI-LO store No. 5703 in Hixson, Tennessee, hosted a “Taste of Chattanooga” on Saturday, Jan. 17, to celebrate local entrepreneurs who were selected through the BI-LOcal program.

The event offered product samplings from 19 local vendors who now have more than 92 products in 29 BI-LO stores throughout Chattanooga and North Georgia. Last April, 26 Chattanooga-area entrepreneurs met with a team of BI-LO executives where they introduced their products, hoping to earn a space on BI-LO shelves.

On the day of the event, customers made their way through store aisles where they sampled everything from gluten-free baked goods and relish to Tennessee Moonshine Cakes and barbeque sauce.

Local vendor and winner of The Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, Chef Jernard Wells, performed two cooking demonstrations where he used Southern Home products to make favorites, including shrimp and grits and Buffalo wings. In addition, the first 50 attendees received a free signed copy of Chef Wells’ bestselling cookbook. Three lucky attendees received gift baskets featuring local products and a BI-LO gift card.

On Friday, Jan. 16, BI-LO and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner at Blue Orleans restaurant, where BI-LO executives once again met with nine hopeful small-business owners eager to learn how to get their products on BI-LO shelves.

Local elected officials, including City Council member Yusuf Hakeem and Hamilton County Commissioners, Warren Mackey and Randy Fairbanks, were also in attendance, where they praised BI-LO’s efforts to support local, small business.

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Chef Jernard Wells cooks up his famous shrimp and grits for event attendees.

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Customer Andre Smith receives the gift basket full of local products from Store Director David Leatherwood.

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