Walmart’s held its fifth annual open call event at its corporate headquarters on Wednesday. More than 450 businesses lined the halls to meet face-to-face with buyers in hopes of making a deal with the retail giant.
More than 100 entrepreneurs pitching U.S.-made products moved on to the next step, with some getting on-the-spot deals, and for the third year in a row, Walmart offered all suppliers with shelf-stable items the opportunity to sell on Walmart.com.
“We made this commitment five years ago as a way of accomplishing a few goals—building trust with our customers, investing in the communities we serve, and offering new and innovative products for shoppers,” said Cindi Marsiglio, VP for merchandising services and U.S. manufacturing for Walmart. “We are halfway through our ten-year commitment, and we are pleased with our progress. We have seen factories reopened and jobs created.”
Some of this year’s open call attendees that will move on to the next step include:
- BodyLove Naturals, Rogers, Arkansas—Natural skincare products
- Ahssa Foods LLC, Mesa, Arizona—Low-fat gourmet sauces
- KC Pharmaceuticals, Pomona, California—Over-the-counter eye care products
- Mame’s Burrito Company, Denver, Colorado—Organic breakfast burritos
- The Honeypot Company LLC, Atlanta, Georgia—Plant-based feminine wash
- Naturalicious, Detroit, Michigan—Natural haircare products
- The Perfect Granola, Rochester, New York—Naturally sweetened granola bars
- Boxtown Team, Tulsa, Oklahoma—Convenient ladder carrier
- The Cumberland Companies, Knoxville, Tennessee—Fog-free shaving mirror
- Yumix LLC, Dallas, Texas—Ready-to-drink cocktail mix
- Shoe Crazy, Chesterfield, Virginia—Unique wine blends
- iLids, Seattle, Washington—Reusable mason jar lids
- Holsum de Puerto Rico, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico—Vanilla Crème Sandwich Cookies
The open call event is part of Walmart’s investment in communities and job growth through its 10-year commitment to American manufacturing. In 2013, Walmart committed to purchasing an additional $250 billion by 2023 in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S.
The event included more than 600 meetings with pitches for a range of products, including toys, apparel, natural health and beauty aids, and food, including many organic offerings. Participants traveled from 46 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. More than half of all businesses self-identified as diverse, including nearly 25 percent identifying as women-owned.
“I wanted to be in Walmart because everyone can access their stores,” said Saiful Islam, CEO of SheaOlein, maker of all-natural, organic skincare products in Baltimore, Maryland. “When I got the congratulations card, it just made my day. I cannot express how happy I am.”
Walmart is encouraging supporters to join the conversation about open call on social media channels using #WalmartOpenCall and #MadeinUSA.