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GREENVILLE, S.C -- Bi-Lo Supermarkets received the honor of 2007 "Champion of Diversity" at the second annual MLK Dream Weekend Diversity Banquet, held at the Palmetto Expo Center here earlier this month.
Sponsored by business, religious, and community leaders, the 2007 Diversity Banquet awards are given to "organizations that lead by example through their commitment to diversity."
"Bi-Lo is determined to become a grocery industry leader in the area of diversity, and this award indicates significant progress toward achieving that goal," said Bi-Lo president and c.e.o. Dean Cohagan in a statement.
The retailer has six key focus areas to help it in its mission to become more diverse, among them a Supplier Diversity goal to promote the use of eligible minority and women-owned businesses in all aspects of the company by forming business partnerships; a Mentoring Program, which provides employees with networking opportunities to advance in leadership; and a Youth Education initiative, which awards 16 scholarships in conjunction with Urban Leagues to minority high school graduates entering college in the fall.
"The goal of our program has been to create an increasingly diverse work force and supplier group that is representative of our marketplace and our world," noted Magaly Penn, Bi-Lo's senior director of diversity. "And our hard work is paying off. Diversity is now something that associates at all levels of the business think about, realize the importance of, and strive to improve."
Last year Bi-Lo was recognized for "Outstanding Achievement in Promoting Diversity by a Business" at the second annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Riley Institute at Furman University. The event honored organizations and individuals for superior achievement in promoting diversity in the South Carolina's Upstate region.
Additionally, the grocer held its second annual Supplier Diversity Awards Luncheon in 2006 in honor of its most successful minority and women-owned business partners. At the event Penn said that Bi-Lo surpassed its annual goal for diversity purchases in 2005 by 22 percent. The company also helped many minority vendors to obtain certification as a minority business.
Employing about 23, 500 associates, Bi-Lo/Bruno's operates over 300 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.