Groceries Ignore Black Media

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Carl West

By Carl West, TBT News

Mariano’s and Whole Foods, primarily the two new groceries on Chicago’s Southside has proven to be BAD community partners. They’ve reneged multiple times on their commitment to spend money with black-owned media outlets after the opening of their two-highly profitable stores in Bronzeville and Englewood. Not only are they very BAD neighbors, they’re also TERRIBLE liars.

Both store’s management seem to follow the same scripted playbook when they opened in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2016–that they would start advertising in November (2016) during the Thanksgiving Holiday with black media. Both groceries have been contacted by iconic media outlets, including WVON radio, the Chicago Defender, the Crusader, the Citizen, and other black owned newspapers and magazines. Digital media and marketing companies have also attempted to secure advertisement and sponsorship, to no prevail. And here we are concluding the 1st quarter of 2017 and neither big-box grocer has opened their lucrative purses to local black media.

I travel around Chicago and I’ve seen both groceries in mention advertisements on the north side and down town. I was at the Flower & Garden Show on Tuesday and Mariano’s was the presenting sponsor. I have not seen Mariano’s sponsor any events on the south side. Whole Foods also have not presented themselves as sponsors at any activities in the community they take money from. But I’ve seen their ADS on the back pages of non-black owned and distributed magazines and newspapers. But I’ve yet to see their logo brands in the black community, outside of the coupons they send out in mailboxes. I will not even address that non-black nonsense!

Data shows that they’ll collectively rake-in over $70 million when their respective fiscal-year ends. But they can’t even spend a fraction of black shoppers hard-earned cash with black media. They should be ashamed of themselves for doing BAD business and also being direct liars to either sales people and owners of black owned media outlets, who’ve either approached them individually or as a collective group.

Each of their stores and products are much-needed in what was once called food desserts. But that don’t mean we should ignore their internal commitments. Black media will continue knocking on their doors and hopefully each of them (Mariano’s & Whole Foods) will have respect for the very customers who’ll be contributing to sending (their) children’s children to college, buying their first car and crib, as well as paying for another one of (their) many vacation homes.

Slowing there will be a movement to denounce both grocery chains for their unfair practice as BAD community partners and neighbors. We’ve seen this kind of treachery and disrespect before. And we will not either forget or let this ignorance of their obligation go unquestioned or unpunished. – CDW

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I hear the concern…has anyone contacted the presidents of the company to offer a strategic partnership with existing community organizations, to push advertising and more so sponsorships like Kroger and Jewels does? However, the way to them is through the local schools…Look at how DC public schools and community gardens have establish their relationship with wholefoods and there we may…may get some result. No one can make someone spend money, they have to feel wanted…its their nature, then they will $pend.

  2. I hear the concern…has anyone contacted the presidents of the company to offer a strategic partnership with existing community organizations, to push advertising and more so sponsorships like Kroger and Jewels does? However, the way to them is through the local schools…Look at how DC public schools and community gardens have establish their relationship with wholefoods and there we may…may get some result. No one can make someone spend money, they have to feel wanted…its their nature, then they will $pend. I wonder if we as Black folk and Black Media could do better if we forge what we are looking for in white companies through Black athletes that invest in white companies to get dollars in our community? Example, Lebron James and the partnership with Blaze Pizza? Derrick Rose and the relationship Addidas.
    Ray Allen recently opened a business venture…Miami-based organic-food quick-service concept, Grown, is about family, about nourishment, and about the countless other families like them looking for healthy food fast. What if Black Media built a relationship and Grown that forced Wholefoods to advertise with out interest? That’s the angle!

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