Issue 5, October 2012

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Supplier Diversity Newsletter

Featured Supplier of the Month: Sir Aubrey’s White Lion Tea Company


White Lion Tea is a boutique food, beverage and bath products company that has grown from the simple concept of incorporating affordable luxuries into everyday life.  It started in 1998, with an introduction of Kathryn Petty to Aubrey Franklin, Tea Ambassador and former spokesman for the United States Tea Council.  This introduction led to a partnership and the development of the Sir Aubrey’s Fine English Iced Teas brand, which in one year grew from Kathryn’s kitchen to 1,000 retail outlets.  In 2000, the successful iced tea company, which had grown both in size and depth, was renamed to showcase an emerging line of hot teas. 

Today, White Lion Tea has become an established brand, offering an assortment of high quality products and unique gifts, packaged to appeal to national/international wholesalers and distributors, as well as retail consumers.

White Lion product offerings:
Whole Leaf, Hand-Harvested Teas
- Individually wrapped sachets
- Bulk sachets
- Loose 
Luxury Brands
- Honey Pearls®
- Bath Pearls®
- Spa Ciao® 
Private Label Packaging
- Custom designed

Our unique pyramid shaped sachets allow for premium grade whole leaf teas that would otherwise be unattainable in a traditional flat teabag.  As a general rule, the smaller and more finely ground the tea, the lesser the quality.  Smaller leaves that have been crushed during processing release more tannins when steeped, yielding a bitter cup. 

White Lion is proud to sell only the highest quality, Orange Pekoe and Pekoe teas to our customers, available in impressive White Lion or private-label packaging, which can be custom designed to fit the look and feel of any business.  White Lion’s numerous distribution channels include Amazon, Atlanta Foods International, Sysco and Universal Companies; and businesses such as Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, MGM, Gaylord and Holland America proudly offer its products.

Kathryn Petty’s success is not only driven by a thirst for tea.  Her company’s growth owes much to her creativity and application of strong branding and marketing principles.  She began her career with State Farm Insurance at the age of 17, where her initiative took her from an entry level position to ownership of the agency.  Over a 14-year period, she grew the agency into a multi-million dollar business and moved the headquarters into a building which she purchased the land and had built.  In 1994, Kathryn sold the agency to move with her husband to South Carolina, and then to Arizona two years later, where she focused her entrepreneurial skills on a new lifestyle venture, which led to the formation of White Lion Tea.  

Always searching for ways to take the company to the next level, Kathryn learned of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and became certified in 2003.  An active member of WBENC, Kathryn served as the WBEC-West Arizona, Vice Chair in 2010, progressing to the WBEC-West Arizona Forum Chair in 2011.  In 2012, she was named a Women’s Business Enterprise Star, and was one of 14 woman business leaders from across the country to receive the nation’s premier award for excellence among women’s business enterprises. 

The growth of White Lion Tea over the years has taken it from a small 1,200 square foot facility to its current 6,600 square foot administration, production and warehouse facilities.  Designed to house all the company’s operations under one roof and also reflect the timeless, elegant and memorable elements of the one and only White Lion Tea brand.       


“White Lion Teas has provided high quality teas to Gaylord Entertainment for use in our Resorts and Convention Centers since 2008 and has consistently provided exceptional products and service to our four properties in Nashville, Orlando, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  Kathryn Petty and her team have proven time and again their creativity, delivery of a quality product, and quick responsiveness to the needs of their customers during the recent period of volatility with regards to demand and market conditions.”
-- Richard Oakes, Gaylord Entertainment



For more information on White Lion Tea Company contact:



White Lion Tea Company
15941 N. 77th Street, Suite 3
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Office: 480.607.5300

Also, visit us online at

 Kathryn Petty
President and Founder
Office: 480.607.5300
 Nathaniel Brengle
Marketing Director
Office: 480.607.5300 x104



MWBE Recipe Corner

Classic Spa-Tini

4 oz. Cranberry Hibiscus tea (strongly brewed)
1 oz. Vodka
Splash of Orange Liqueur
Splash of Meyer’s Lemon Infused Simple Syrup
Honey Pearls (to rim the glass)

Preparation:  Dampen the rim of the martini glass and rim in Honey Pearls. Add all liquid ingredients and ice to shaker and shake vigorously.  Pour into martini glass and enjoy!

SUPC# 9168741  Cranberry Hibiscus, 24/4 oz 
SUPC# 5488071  Honey Pearls, 2lb canister SteepTea
How to Steep
PPlace one flowerette into a glass teapot. Pour near-boiling water into the pot and watch the unfolding of the leaves. Allow to steep about 3-4 minutes. Chinese tradition allows the flower to be steeped up to three times.

As an alternative, steep a flowering tea in a coffee mug for about five minutes, then gently move to a carafe. Add cool spring water and serve in wine glasses over ice.

SUPC # 8625049  Teas in Bloom, Assorted Variety, 1 lb bags
SUPC # 8625051  Bistro Glass Teapot




Supplier Diversity Spotlight

2012 Sysco Super Regional Conference

 BestMaidCookieCompanyLogo KingCheesecakeCompanyLogo   RonsHomeStyelFoodsLogo

Sysco hosted its annual Super Regional Conference in June.  This year Sysco featured three certified minority- and women-owned suppliers; Best Maid Cookie Company (2012 Gold Heritage Award winner), King Cheesecake Company (2012 Silver Heritage Award winner) and Ron’s Home Style Foods.  All three companies have been supplying great products to Sysco for more than 5 years.  It’s partnerships with diverse suppliers like these that make Sysco’s supplier diversity program successful!

Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) EXPO

Sysco has been a supporter and active member of the HMSDC for over 5 years.  We recently participated in the HMSDC EXPO where attendance was over 1,400.  More than 50 companies in various industries stopped by our booth to inquire about a potential partnership with Sysco.

Sysco utilizes diverse suppliers for direct/indirect purchases and has awarded contracts to several MWBE suppliers for printing services and staffing solutions. 
If you have a potential opportunity for an MWBE supplier in any category, please contact the Supplier Diversity department

Supplier Diversity and the Importance of Category Management

While the new category management initiative is underway, we still want to continue focusing on keeping our minority- and women-owned supplier base intact.   Category management is necessary in order to grow our business and it’s important for Sysco to stay engaged with our diverse suppliers as well.  A lot of our customers depend on these suppliers for their Tier II programs and/or to reach their corporate goals. 

“Category Management is our new way of doing business in which we use market, operator and consumer insights in order to determine a new core assortment of products.  This approach will create an assortment with greater variety and on trend products that meet customer needs on a national and regional basis.  The goal is to generate a more efficient assortment that drives value for the customer and more market share for Sysco.

Once an assortment is determined for a category, we will then engage with our suppliers that we can best partner with to fulfill our assortment needs, lower our costs and help drive market share. Ultimately, through Category Management, we will go to market with less duplicate items and less suppliers. As we go through this process, supplier diversity will be an important consideration to ensure we meet the needs of our customers.”    

 --Bill Day, EVP Merchandising & Supply Chain, Sysco     


Sysco's Minority & Women-Owned (MWBE) Supplier Spend

Sysco partners with over 400 minority and women-owned suppliers, and each year this base continues to grow.  Diverse suppliers help Sysco meet the changing demands of foodservice operators while supporting strategic alliances that enable the continued success of Sysco, our customers and our supplier partners.
It is important that Sysco continues to utilize minority and women-owned suppliers from a corporate and operating company position.
Sysco continues to grow its purchases (Spend) from minority and women-owned suppliers each year.  Sysco's MWBE Spend for FY 2012 increased to $716 million, compared to FY 2011 MWBE Spend of $690 million. 



Sysco's Supplier Diversity Registration Portal

We encourage you to continue communicating to your minority suppliers the importance of registering their company.  If you haven't done so, please remind your suppliers to register their company as a minority and/or woman-owned supplier.\An increasing number of large customers are requiring minority suppliers to present their certifications in order to count their purchases for contract purposes. 

Please direct new and existing minority and women-owned suppliers to Sysco’s Minority Supplier Registration Portal via the website:  Minority Supplier Registration Portal

The registration portal allows Sysco to source various MWBE suppliers for products of interest, when the need arises.  It also allows the supplier to upload MBE, MWBE, Hubzone or SBA (8A) certificates their company has acquired so that we have them available when needed, as well as create and/or update their company profile.

Why Supplier Diversity is Important to Sysco Operating Companies

  1. Restaurant decision makers, with whom Sysco does business, are becoming increasingly multicultural, multilingual, and multifaceted and often require "Nitch" or unique products from minorities or women-owned companies.
  2. Minorities and women represent the fastest growth to the consumer/business base, and contribute dramatically to the revenue stream that major corporations, including Sysco enjoy.
  3. MWBEs can offer potentially a better price for Sysco and non-Sysco Brand products.
  4. Sysco can potentially receive quicker turnaround and better or expanded levels of service from MWBEs.
  5. Supporting MWBEs allows Sysco to give back to the communities where Sysco employees live, work and do business.
  6. Helps M/WBEs grow and participate on a level playing field with other Sysco suppliers.
  7. Many key customers, including the military, national accounts and gaming customers track and depend upon Sysco's Tier 1 purchases from minority and women-owned supplier partners.

For comments or questions regarding Supplier Diversity at Sysco, please contact:

Karen Lashley, Manager of Supplier Diversity
Sysco Corporation
1390 Enclave Parkway, Bldg. A
Houston, TX 77077
281.584.1484 (direct)