Wendy future of retail top

Walgreens turns spotlight on supplier diversity

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co. has introduced a new program called Community Corner that aims to highlight the successes of minority-owned businesses.

Describing the program as a "first of its kind," Walgreens said Monday that the supplier diversity initiative is designed to enable consumers to easily identify and buy products produced by diverse companies. The drug store retailer plans to recognize these vendor partners through print advertisements, in-store announcements, coupon booklets, shelf tags, in-store product demonstrations and on walgreens.com.

Plans call for Walgreens to run the program featuring products made by African-American vendors throughout February in honor of Black History Month.

This month, Walgreens will showcase the following African-American produced brands: African Royale Hot Six Oil, Angelica’s Cakes, Bronner Brothers Pump It Up! Spritz, Evolve Purse Size Styling Brush, High Time Bump Stopper-2 Razor Bump Treatment, Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel, Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer, Mix Match Gourmet Popcorn, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil No-Lye Relaxer Kit, Pepsom Sports Epsom Salt, Porcelana Night Skin Lightening Cream, Reggio’s Pizza, Rejuvenizer Diabetic Sock, Richard’s Ice Cream, Sheenique Relaxer, Stay Smooth No-Bump Gel, Ultra Sheen Relaxer Pack, WavEnforcer Premium Do-Rag and 2010 Black History Calendar. Six African American-owned magazines — Ebony, Black Enterprise, Jet, The Source, Sister to Sister and Upscale — will also be featured.

On Friday and Saturday, select Walgreens locations will host special events featuring products from the vendors above. Customers will have the opportunity to try featured products and take home samples.

Walgreens added that it plans to expand the Community Corner program to feature products of businesses owned by women, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Americans at various times during the year.

"Providing a platform such as Community Corner to showcase these vendors creates an opportunity for consumers to instantly influence economic growth in their communities," Walgreens director of supplier diversity Gleatha Glispie said in a statement. "Walgreens outreach programs foster an environment that enhances the development of a diverse group of entrepreneurs. We plan to promote wider vendor participation throughout the year and, in this way, help support the economic base of the communities we serve across our 7,100 stores."

Walgreens said it also expects the program to drive awareness for its diverse suppliers in local communities. Besides promoting these suppliers’ products in stores, the retailer is developing relationships with community organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the National Urban League. For example, the NUL Wellness Tour is now entering its third year of offering free health screenings in underserved communities, the pharmacy chain said.


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