Five years ago, Sharon Reynolds, president and CEO of DevMar Products, LLC, was having a conversation with a friend who suggested that Reynolds partner with her research team at Morehouse College to provide testing for an emergency response biohazard product.
That working relationship between DevMar and Morehouse led to the production of the company’s patented flagship product, Clean Up™ Biohazard Absorbent, which kills norovirus and is also one of several that DevMar offers through Office Depot’s Diverse Supplier Catalog.
DevMar partners with Office Depot as a Tier I and Tier II National Office Supplier Partner, which provides excellent exposure for its specialty products. DevMar (a hybrid of Reynolds’ two son’s names—Devin and DeMarco), distributes high-quality janitorial and sanitary supplies to companies for healthier work environments for employees, staff and patients.
Reynolds, a fifth-generation Nashvillian, founded DevMar, in 2007, after a very successful 16-year career as a real estate broker. The company is a leader in renewable resource products with a focus on creating initiatives that address sustainability.
In addition to Clean Up™, DevMar offers other unique products such as Safety Sweep, a risk management tool used in restaurants to reduce incidents of slips and falls, and Adapt ISB a long-lasting, durable and invisible non-toxic surface protectant.
As a Tier I vendor for Office Depot, DevMar is considered a partner in every respect, which pleases Reynolds.
“This is a very prestigious position to be in, with a company like Office Depot. Their level of commitment to supplier diversity is unmatched to any other company like theirs in the marketplace,” she says. “They pay attention to detail on how to engage the vendor partner, and in really looking for opportunities. Anytime there’s an opportunity that one of their customers, whether it be a Fortune 50, 100, or 500, is interested in engaging a diverse supplier within the contractual agreement, then, DevMar is one of those partners.”
The DevMar-Office Depot partnership began when Reynolds crossed paths with Carmen Deale, Office Depot’s supplier diversity manager, at a business expo and luncheon during the 2017 Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair.
“Office Depot continues to identify, recruit and onboard WBE suppliers such as DevMar Products. I recruited and on boarded DevMar Products at the end of 2017 and their products were featured in the 2018 Diversity Digital catalog. In Q2 of 2018, DevMar Products was introduced to our Tier I program. By Q4 of 2018, DevMar Products was onboard as a Tier I partner. As a Tier I and Tier II supplier of Office Depot, Sharon is eager to transform, strengthen and disrupt for the future,” Deale says.
The partnership between the companies isn’t one-sided as Reynolds is very proactive and always looking for opportunities that DevMar can bring to the relationship. She’s believes that a reciprocal relationship is healthy, and shows that DevMar, as the diverse partner, is actively engaged in making sure that it is a win-win for both entities.
I want it to be respected, and we want to make sure that we are actively engaged in the relationship, because it gives us that level of respect, and I think respect goes both ways.
“If I’m engaged in a partnership, then a partnership is about a reciprocal relationship. I’m not one to engage with companies who just want to use us for our diversity status. I told them from the very beginning, that it would be an active relationship with DevMar and our team to make sure that we’re engaged in that way. We are active participants, and we protect our diversity status,” she says. “I want it to be respected, and we want to make sure that we are actively engaged in the relationship, because it gives us that level of respect, and I think respect goes both ways.”
Reynolds and DevMar have received several awards of excellence, including being selected as a 2019 WBE Star by WBENC. In September 2017, DevMar was named the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South Tier I Supplier of the Year. In 2015, the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce named DevMar as Small Business of the Year. The Nashville Business Journal’s 2013 Women of Influence Awards honored Reynolds as a finalist in the entrepreneurial category.
As she looks toward the future, Reynolds wants to scale her business and get international exposure. She believes that her partnership with Office Depot will help her achieve that goal.
“For scalability, continuing to partner with large corporations will help that goal,” she says. “The relationship with Office Depot is allowing us to have different verticals of off-product offerings within our supply chain. And it’s given us a platform to expand our offerings and the possibilities of tremendous scale on an international basis.”