Q: I would like to open a retail grocery store but I can’t find information on African Americans in the industry. Is there an organization I can contact for help and guidance?
–M. High, Oak Park, Michigan
A: Michelle, you’ve taken on quite a task and, like a true entrepre-neur, you’re doing the right thing seeking out information about the industry you plan to enter. I spoke to Marsha Dion of the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C. She recommended tapping into these associations to get more information: Grocery Manufacturers of America, www.gmabrands.com, 202-337-9400; National Grocers Association, www.national grocers.org, 703-516-0700; and the Food Marketing Institute, www.fmi.org, 202-452-8444.
Malcolm Calhoun, vice president and general manager of Calhoun Enterprises (No. 28 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list, with $111 million in sales) in Montgomery, Alabama, suggests two major wholesalers–SuperValue, 404-699-3600, and Fleming Foods, 601-342-8008–as resources for both food suppliers and companies that can help you develop a financial plan and provide financial backing for your business.