One of the many big events taking place in our community this Fall is the October opening of the Whole Foods store on Thomasville Road. This opening not only provides Tallahassee with more than 200 new jobs for local residents, but also potentially provides local small businesses with great exposure by having their foods and products sold in the store. So, when representatives from Whole Foods expressed interest in bringing the best of the local region into its new location, the Chamber did what we do best: Connecting our members with opportunities to expand and grow their business.
Most small businesses don’t have the resources or contacts to be able to get face-to-face with executives and decision makers from major national retailers like Whole Foods. As the region’s premier economic development organization geared towards helping businesses and our local economy succeed, the Chamber provided guidance to the Whole Foods executives on ways that the food and supplies sold in their store could be provided by local vendors.
From June 10-12, Whole Foods executives got a complete tour of our diverse and growing region. During the first day, the Chamber assembled 22 vendors from around the area that supply the types of goods Whole Foods is seeking for an opportunity to meet and then present their food and products in person to representatives who are responsible for determining what is sold in the new Whole Foods store. This supplier fair was held at Coton Colors headquarters and was the region’s opportunity to prove to the Whole Foods executives what those of us who live here already know: that the best and highest quality food is harvested, grown, raised and bred right here in our own backyard.
For the remaining two days, Chamber staff led the executives on a comprehensive tour of the area, including oyster harvesting in Apalachicola, and tours of the different farms, fisheries and unique stores that showcase the diverse and delicious foods produced in our communities that would be a perfect fit for the local flavor that Whole Foods is seeking.
This was an enormous undertaking that involved half of our Chamber staff, led by Corrie Melton, our Director of Membership Recruitment, who reached out to the vendors, coordinated the tours and was the driving force behind this one-of-a-kind opportunity. The response back from the Whole Foods team was overwhelming, as they’d never had the red carpet rolled out for them like they experienced here in Tallahassee.
I want to thank Susie Murray and Laura Johnson and the hard working and creative staff at Coton Colors for hosting the unique and successful supplier fair and for being wonderful partners in this endeavor. We can’t do these types of large events alone, and having members like Coton Colors and many others who are eager to help out and offer assistance to ensure our community is presented in the best light possible is something that we are very thankful for.
Coordinating this tour is just one of the many benefits that the Chamber provides for our members. Like our slogan says “Our Business is Your Business” and the ability to connect our members with opportunities to expand their business is just one of the many ways the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce helps its members grow and succeed.
We appreciate your membership and look forward to providing you with opportunities to grow your business and to work together in ensuring that our community continues to be a great place to live, work and play.