SOURCE: News release from Walmart
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses lined the halls at Walmart’s Home Office on Wednesday to pitch their U.S.-manufactured products to Walmart buyers, hoping to land on store shelves and create more American jobs. During the sixth annual Open Call event, more than 100 companies moved on to the next step, with several dozen getting deals on the spot to go on Walmart store shelves. Everyone received valuable feedback on their product from the buyer, and – for the fourth year in a row – Walmart offered all suppliers with shelf-stable items the opportunity to sell on Walmart.com.
In addition to pitch meetings, the two-day event provided informative sessions for supplier-hopefuls. These included a supplier mentoring session, a discussion on how suppliers can grow their businesses and a presentation on how to get products ready for retail. Wednesday morning featured award-winning entrepreneur and CEO Larry Broughton sharing strategies on how entrepreneurs can take their business to the next level. Attendees received autographed copies of his latest best-selling book.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon – who once worked as a buyer for the company – also addressed the eager entrepreneurs. He shared why buying local products makes economic sense and is good for the communities Walmart serves: “If we can create great local jobs, we’re going to have better stores and better, stronger communities,” said McMillon. “We love to buy things that are close to our distribution centers and our stores because it creates those jobs, while also helping us be more efficient. So, this is strategic and something we should be doing as a business. But we also bring an emotional component to this because we care about people. We want everybody who has anything to do with Walmart – whether they’re a customer or an associate or a supplier of ours – to benefit.”
The companies in attendance represented a broad geography, including 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Collectively, their impact on the U.S. manufacturing sector can be felt across the country, as they are manufacturing their products in 44 different states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“Walmart always sounded like the company that is impossible to get into,” said Toyin Kolawole, founder and CEO of Iya Foods. “Walmart is the only grocery chain to give us such an opportunity like this as a small business. I don’t know of any other store that does an Open Call event the way Walmart does.”
2019 Open Call attendees moving on to the next step include:
Boat Bling, Phoenix, Arizona – hot sauce
Jarratt Industries, LLC, Fayetteville, Arkansas – bug blocker socks
Sweety Ice Cream, Monterey Park, California – matcha green tea mochi ice cream
Sierra Sage Herbs, Lyons, Colorado – organic hand moisturizer
Kira Labs, Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida – anti-aging retinol shower gel
Iya Foods LLC, North Aurora, Illinois – spicy fried rice seasoning
Foppers Pet Treat Bakery, Logansport, Indiana – dog bones
Michigan Ladder Company, Ypsilanti, Michigan — fiberglass step ladder
Plastilite, Omaha, Nebraska – biodegradable foam cooler
Magic Ninja Dust, Flemington, New Jersey – liquid chalk for gymnasts and climbers
FTI Brands LLC, Columbus, Ohio – shoe scuff mark remover
503 Distilling, Oregon City, Oregon – canned cocktail
Alamo Candy Company, San Antonio, Texas – strawberry candy strips
Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn, Norfolk, Virginia – caramel corn
Ivy City Smokehouse, Washington, DC – smoked salmon jerky
Medella Laboratories, Wausau, Wisconsin – natural children’s probiotics
Walmart is leading the way through its commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. by 2023. The Open Call event underscores that commitment and helps Walmart make a difference on something customers care about.
Join the Open Call conversation on social media channels using #WalmartOpenCall.
For more information on Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, visit https://corporate.walmart.com/americaatwork.