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    Bi-Lo Honored for Diversity Efforts

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bi-Lo Supermarkets here was recently recognized for its efforts to promote diversity among its supplier partners, by a local group.

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bi-Lo Supermarkets here was recently recognized for its efforts to promote diversity among its supplier partners, by a local group.

    The chain was lauded at an awards dinner sponsored by the Riley Institute at Furman. The event acknowledged organizations and individuals for superior achievement in promoting diversity in the Upstate region of South Carolina.

    "We're proud of what we've accomplished in our company and in our community," said Dean Cohagan, Bi-Lo's president and c.e.o., in a statement. "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."

    Bi-Lo's key focus areas to fulfill its diversity mission include a supplier diversity goal to promote the use of eligible minority and women-owned businesses in all aspects of the company by creating business partnerships; a mentoring program, which provides associates with networking opportunities to advance in leadership; and a youth education initiative, which offers 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 workforce and supplier group that is representative of our marketplace and our world," said 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."

    Earlier this year, Bi-Lo hosted its second annual Supplier Diversity Awards Luncheon to honor its most successful minority and women-owned business partners. At the luncheon, Penn announced that Bi-Lo exceeded its annual goal for diversity purchases in 2005 by 22 percent. In addition, the company also assisted many minority vendors in obtaining their certification as a minority business.

    Bi-Lo/Bruno's operates 340 stores in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida.

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