Restaurateur Ana Olson understands the power food can have in bringing people together.
“I'm a firm believer that culture gets spread mainly through food,” said Ana, Owner of Los Amigos Tequila Bar & Grill in Muskegon. “If you buy something that you love and like, you get curious about knowing what the culture is about and their people. So it breaks the barrier between different cultures.”
Ana was among the 40 restaurant owners, food entrepreneurs, and retail product hopefuls who came to our Road to Retail event to learn how to bring their products to retail aisles.
We partnered with the Greater Lansing Hispanic Chamber (GLHC) to host the event at our distribution center in Lansing recently as part of an ongoing partnership with the organization.
Our relationship with GLHC took a major step forward in March 2022 when we donated $58,000 to the nonprofit as part of a $1 million effort across 17 Hispanic chambers throughout our communities. The initiative aimed to empower the chambers to use the funds to serve the local Hispanic community however they see best, but we’re pleased to say that donation has blossomed into an ongoing partnership.
“Obviously, we got to take a picture with a big check, which is always great, but to me the biggest value has been engaging with us in the community, helping try to connect people and learn about the opportunities that exist within the Meijer organization,” said Chaz Carrillo, president of the Greater Lansing Hispanic Chamber.
Creating opportunities that support our Midwest market is important to us.
“Supporting local businesses ties into our strategy as well as an overarching commitment to enriching lives in the communities we serve,” said Tom McCall, Meijer Vice President of Logistics.
The Road to Retail is designed to demystify the path to getting a product onto store shelves. To help participants understand the process, we provided bilingual training to review labeling, marketing, pricing and what wholesale buyers are looking for to make their dream a reality.
“Meijer is a good partner because they are actually seeing everything from an equity lens and removing the barriers that our minority businesses face, and then providing solutions to those barriers. That is something that I have never seen before,” said Reyna Masko, co-owner of Aurora International Foods, who brought clients to the event.
We’re excited to see the many ways our donation from months ago will continue to support Hispanic small-business owners, and we look forward to playing an active role in partnering with these organizations in the future.