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The first annual Local/Diverse Business Opportunity Fair, held last month in Hershey, Pa., by Ahold USA with the aim of bolstering its connection to area agricultural and diverse businesses, attracted participants from more than 140 companies.
Attendees were able to have their products reviewed by Ahold USA procurement peams for possible placement in more than 750 stores in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. More than half of the vendors who took part in event have businesses based within the retailer’s geographic footprint, while other participants represented diverse and woman- and minority-owned businesses.
“At Ahold USA, we maintain a strong commitment to developing business opportunities with women-owned, minority-owned and regional businesses, and supplying their products to our customers,” explained James Sturgis, director of supplier diversity & trade relations at Ahold USA.
The company’s Giant-Carlisle and Stop & Shop divisions have hosted similar events in the past, but recent business restructuring paved the way to create a larger event encompassing all Ahold USA divisions.
“The event was an outstanding opportunity for me as a small business person,” noted Marietta John, founder/president of Berwick, Pa.-based Bucketcake Inc., which offers a ready-to-eat cake, including filling and frosting, in a 64-ounce recyclable plastic bucket with an easy-carry handle “The procurement teams were very interested in my business and how we could fit into their system, answering my questions thoroughly. This was an important opportunity for me and my company, and I’m looking forward to a new partnership with Ahold USA.”