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    Ahold USA to Host Diversity Trade Fair

    QUINCY, Mass. -- Ahold USA here, together with Cleveland, Ohio-based business-planning company Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM), will host the Ahold Supplier Diversity Trade Fair next month for women and minority-owned businesses in the consumer packaged goods industry.

    QUINCY, Mass. -- Ahold USA here, together with Cleveland, Ohio-based business-planning company Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM), will host the Ahold Supplier Diversity Trade Fair next month for women and minority-owned businesses in the consumer packaged goods industry.

    The event is scheduled to kick off June 13, in conjunction with ECRM's Power Week. Included in Power Week lineup are ECRM's Skin and Bath Efficient Program Planning Session (EPPS), Hispanic Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise EPPS, and Hair Care EPPS, all of which will be held over a seven-day period at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Fla.

    The EPPS format, developed by ECRM founder and c.e.o. Charlie Bowlus, enables one-on-one meetings between buyers and sellers in HBC and general merchandise categories. "The setup enables suppliers to display their products for a large number of buyers attending the fair," notes Bowlus.

    The trade fair will additionally feature an interactive panel discussion for attending suppliers, distributors, and buyers. "The goal is to inform participants about the steady growth of minority and women owned businesses," says Melinda Hall, director of category development for ECRM's beauty care category, "and how suppliers, distributors and retailers can capitalize on the growth of this sector."

    Other features include three general sessions to inform participants about specific diversity issues. Ahold USA will lead two of these sessions: James Sturgis Jr., the retailer's supplier diversity director, will present "Ahold's Supplier Diversity Goals/Initiatives"; and Wayne Bryant, v.p. of sourcing for American sales, will present "American Sales Expectations." Henry Hailstock of the Food and Marketing Institute will hold a general session on the FMI Supplier Diversity Program and how it interacts with its member supermarkets.

    According to U.S. Census data cited by ECRM, the growth of women- and minority-owned businesses is outpacing that of majority-owned businesses, with women in the lead, and from 1997 to 2002, the number of businesses owned by African-Americans shot up 45 percent, while the number of Hispanic-owned businesses increased 31 percent.

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