BENTONVILLE, Ark. – May 31, 2007 – Wal-Mart Stores announced today that Florida-based Sunny Ridge Farms will be showcased during the upcoming weeks in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Salute to America’s Farmers, launched in September, is a year-long campaign to spotlight Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase from local growers for distribution to stores in their areas in support of locally grown agricultural products. Throughout the next several weeks, Sunny Ridge Farms will team with Wal-Mart Stores to provide home-grown blueberries to numerous Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in the region and provide visibility to the company’s commitment to Florida’s agriculture and growers around the country.
“Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to introduce Salute to America’s Farmers as a tribute to our country’s growers, underscoring our company-wide commitment to farmers across the United States,” said Ron McCormick, Wal-Mart Stores Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager. “We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our customers in Florida. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also generate savings on distribution costs that we can pass on to our customers.”
SunnyRidge Farm is family-owned business located in Winter Haven, Florida. Sunnyridge Farm focuses exclusively on the growing, packaging, and marketing of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. SunnyRidge has been supplying berries to Wal-Mart for over ten years. This year their business has grown to service ten Wal-Mart Distribution Centers supplying 662 local stores in the South Eastern U.S. with the SunnyRidge “Fresh from Florida” branded blueberries.
Vice President and Sales Manager Greg Mixon reflects, “Many years ago, Wal-Mart was one of SunnyRidge Farm’s first retail customers in Florida. With Wal-Mart’s support our business continues to grow each year as the consumer demand increases for our great-tasting, healthy berries. As a second generation farm owner, we appreciate Wal-Mart and their focus on locally grown produce items that support the local economy in Central and North Florida. By being able to offer freshly harvested blueberries and distribute them around the corner and across the globe, we feel the consumer is more likely to have an enjoyable eating experience and will come back to buy again!”
Wal-Mart launched the Salute to America’s Farmer program in September and will showcase local growers throughout a 13 month period. Local farmers and growers in all 50 states will be spotlighted throughout the year. During each state’s showcased month, consumers can identify local produce via corresponding signage in local Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. In addition to Sunny Ridge Farms, Wal-Mart suppliers Liuzza Produce in Louisiana, Eubanks Produce in Mississippi, and Melon Acres in Indiana are being saluted in their respective regions during the upcoming weeks.
“Sunny Ridge Farms is an important supplier to the agricultural industry in the state of Florida,” said Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson. “We take great pride in our local farmers and appreciate Wal-Mart’s continued support and commitment toward the growers and producers in our state.”
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. In the state of Florida in FYE 2006, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spent $4,939,149,238 for merchandise and services with suppliers. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal-Mart supports 131,272 supplier jobs in the state of Florida.*
As of April 2007, Wal-Mart’s presence in Florida includes 150 Supercenters, 44 Discount Stores, 13 Neighborhood Markets and 39 SAM’S Clubs. It also has 7 Distribution Centers for a total of 96,960 associates.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*supplier figures provided by Dun & Bradstreet