When an entrepreneur’s product can be purchased from a brick and mortar store, increased brand recognition is often an accomplishment that leads to more open doors and a manifestation of hard work. This is why Outpost Natural Foods’s effort to be inclusive in its product offerings is particularly significant for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) business owners.
According to WUWM, the Wisconsin-based co-operative recognized that COVID-19 exposed many disparities in non-White ethnic groups. Additionally, racial justice issues has been on the company’s radar. These factors led Outpost Natural Foods to take inclusive steps to feature more minority-owned businesses as vendors.
Outpost Natural Food’s director of community relations, Margaret Mittelstadt, said the co-operative is always considering whether it’s being representative of the communities they serve. Outpost’s website explains that the cooperative boasts 23,000 owners. Made-from-scratch foods and hard-to-find items are sold at its locations. Outpost Natural Food’s Facebook page states that the community-owned grocery co-op in the Milwaukee area includes four stores.
In the WUWM interview, Mittelstadt also said that Outpost Natural Foods is committed to being a model for change in the community. According to her, the premise of operating as a business of inclusiveness in their community was something that the co-op wanted to do.
WUWM shared that business owner Shaquita Mann is excited about selling her eco-Blossom Candle Company creations there. TrueMan McGee’s Funky Fresh Spring Rolls are sold there, too.
During an interview with Carvd N Stone, McGee underscored the significance of having a true opportunity to partner with stores like Outpost Natural Foods, where nearly 40 BIPOC small businesses are represented.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to get our products on Outpost shelves since day one,” McGee said. “It’s been a challenge to keep up with product [but] I feel a bit of relief that I’ve made it to this next level in life.”