Meijer’s virtual summit eyes locally made products

Meijer’s Localization Summit is going virtual.

The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer announced that the summit will be focused on giving local businesses across its six-state footprint a chance to showcase their offerings to its merchants.

“We are proud to be a Midwestern retailer and want to carry products that highlight our communities,” Peter Whitsett, Meijer’s executive vice president of merchandising and marketing said. “Each Meijer store should represent its customers and the community that makes those customers unique. This event gives us the chance to source products from our customers' hometowns, which makes their shopping experience even more meaningful.”

Held on April 1, the event will focus on the grocery, baby, beauty and personal care, over-the-counter and wellness categories.

“Many small, local businesses offer great products but can be hesitant to approach a major retailer because they are not necessarily ready to distribute to hundreds of stores,” Jamie Akemann, group vice president of global sourcing, indirect procurement, supplier diversity and product quality at Meijer said. “This is the perfect opportunity for those businesses. The point of this summit is to bring in local businesses and accommodate what they can do now, while also building a partnership to help them grow in the future.”

In addition, Meijer is partnering with ECRM and RangeMe to host the event through the ECRM Connect virtual platform.

“Offering local products has always been an important part of what we do at Meijer, but now we want to take it up a notch and accelerate our efforts,” Meijer’s group vice president of foods Don Sanderson said. “It means a lot to our customers to know they are supporting a local business, especially when it comes to food. It's nice to know that what you're putting in your body was grown or made right in your own back yard.”