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PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway, Inc. yesterday kicked off a monthlong celebration of Black History Month by honoring entrepreneur and food industry pioneer Reginald F. Lewis, the late chairman of Beatrice Foods.
The retailer unveiled a poster yesterday during a ceremony at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture in Baltimore. Safeway will display the poster in all of its U.S. stores and corporate offices.
"We are honoring the legacy of Reginald F. Lewis for his longstanding contributions to our industry and many important causes in his lifetime," said Steve Burd, Safeway chairman, presiden, and c.e.o. "Each year Safeway employees and customers join together in celebrating Black History Month. Through our many programs and sponsorships, we reach millions of people and help honor the legacies of the men and women who have made a difference."
The poster's unveiling is one of a series of Safeway-sponsored programs and celebrations occurring across the country in stores and corporate offices, as well as at major events in communities where Safeway operates stores, in honor of Black History Month.
The 2008 Black History Month poster features an image of Lewis and chronicles his work in the business world, specifically citing his purchase of Beatrice Foods' International Division, which was, at the time, the largest leveraged buyout of overseas assets by an American company. TLC Beatrice International was the first black-owned enterprise to surpass $1 billion in revenue, and became the nation's largest black-owned and -managed business in the United States, a position that it held for 11 years.
This is the sixth consecutive year that Safeway has honored an influential African-American with a commemorative Black History Month poster. Safeway began producing cultural awareness posters in 2003 as part of a companywide celebration of diversity and of the many people and cultures that have made significant contributions to American history.
Also during Black History Month, Safeway will recognize other outstanding food industry professionals with the Safeway Outstanding African American Entrepreneur Award, given to vendors in recognition of their highly marketable and innovative products and services. The award recipients will be announced at the Feb. 9 meeting of the Rainbow Push Coalition's International Trade Bureau. Previous recipients include Chicago-based entrepreneurs John Clark, founder of Reggio's Pizza, and Amy Hilliard, founder of Comfort Cake.
Throughout the year, Safeway produces and displays posters celebrating diverse history-makers during Asian-American History Month, Women's History Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month.