Christina Sloan
Christina Sloan
V.P/Director of Sales for Li'L Guy Foods®.

Li'L Guy Benefits from MBE Certification

 

Li'L Guy Foods was founded by Don Miranda in 1965 and now is owned and operated by his grandchildren David, Edward and Christina Sloan. The primary business is to develop, manufacture, market, distribute and sell tortillas and other Mexican food products to retailers, restaurants, institutions and through mail order.

When Christina Sloan walked into the MidAmerica Minority Business development Council's (MAMBDC) orientation session, she was more prepared than most business owners. She had already spent more than 45 hours on the certification paperwork. Her business was at a crossroads, and she knew she needed to do something fast.

Downhill Slide

Li'L Guy Foods had been a Wal-Mart vendor for more than 20 years as a minority and woman-owned business, and by 2004, the mega retailer represented 28 percent of Li'L Guy's business. Suddenly, Wal-Mart refused to accept Li'L Guy's as a minority, women-owned company without certification. Between late 2004 and late 2005, Sloan watched her business slip away as she went from having prime positioning to losing space every time Wal-Mart reworked its layout.

Certification Benefits

Sloan decided to see whether becoming certified would improve the situation. She had resisted going through the process because of her perception that certification was simply a crutch.

"I assumed that certified companies believed they were entitled to get business based on the certification-that they didn't have to perform because they were certified," Sloan said. "I found out I was wrong."

After Sloan became certified as an MBE, she began participating in MAMBDC-sponsored events and embracing the minority community. She volunteered her time and supported the MAMBDC financially. Her business went through a transformation.

Community Focus

She picked up some business from the Ameristar and Isle of Capri casinos as a direct result of becoming a certified MBE, and she expects she will win more contracts down the road. But even more important, Sloan saw certification as a way to become more intimate with the minority business community.

"We're not focused on selling more tortillas but on being responsible business owners," Sloan said. "The by-product of that is you sell more tortillas, and your business grows."

 

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