Whole Foods Market buyers meet with East Tennessee suppliers

Whole Foods Market buyers meet with East Tennessee suppliers

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Whole Foods Market is looking for local vendors and met with 18 local suppliers Wednesday. Whole Foods Market is looking for local vendors and met with 18 local suppliers Wednesday.
Whole Foods Market officials said they plan to open the Papermill Drive location in the spring of 2015. Whole Foods Market officials said they plan to open the Papermill Drive location in the spring of 2015.
By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennesseans who make cheese, chocolate and lots of other products are getting a shot at shelf space in a popular retailer coming to Knoxville.

Whole Foods Market is looking for local vendors and met with 18 local suppliers Wednesday as the grocery store chain prepares to open a new store in West Knoxville along Papermill Drive.

"We showed them our Tennessee themed chocolates,” owner of Bradley's Chocolate Factory Brad Hamlett said. “We do a lot of stuff that's local. If things work out, we'll be able to hire more people, more jobs. It’ll have an impact in the community so it's a win win for everybody."

Whole Foods Market buyers sampled the local products looking for things like coffee and aged cheeses.

Store officials told 6 News it’s all part of its commitment to building ties with local suppliers.

“The carbon footprint of the product is smaller because it's made here, delivered directly to the store and brought into your home when you buy it at the grocery store," Whole Foods Coordinator of Mission, Culture & Purpose Amanda Musilli said.

Jason Mitchell owns Pop Culture Incorporated, a business on Sutherland Ave that makes all natural popsicles.

Mitchell said he was encouraged by his meeting with Whole Foods Market buyers and believes the new business location will invigorate the local economy.

"It helps the local farmers and it helps the local vendors,” Mitchell said. “It helps everybody out and it keeps the money in the community."

Whole Foods Market officials said they plan to open the Papermill Drive location in the spring of 2015.

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