BENTONVILLE, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American entrepreneurial spirit was very much alive at Walmart’s fifth annual Open Call event at their corporate headquarters Wednesday. More than 450 businesses lined the halls to meet face-to-face with buyers in hopes of landing the deal of a lifetime. And, for many, those hopes are closer to becoming reality.
More than 100 entrepreneurs pitching U.S.-made products moved on to the next step, with some getting on-the-spot deals. Also, 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, vice president for Merchandising Services and U.S. Manufacturing, 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, AR – Natural skincare products
- Ahssa Foods LLC, Mesa, AZ – Low-fat gourmet sauces
- KC Pharmaceuticals, Pomona, CA – Over-the-counter eye care products
- Mame’s Burrito Company, Denver, CO – Organic breakfast burritos
- The Honeypot Company LLC, Atlanta, GA – Plant-based feminine wash
- Naturalicious, Detroit, MI – Natural haircare products
- The Perfect Granola, Rochester, NY – Naturally sweetened granola bars
- Boxtown Team, Tulsa, OK – Convenient ladder carrier
- The Cumberland Companies, Knoxville, TN – Fog-free shaving mirror
- YUMIX LLC, Dallas, TX – Ready-to-drink cocktail mix
- Shoe Crazy, Chesterfield, VA – Unique wine blends
- iLids, Seattle, WA – Reusable mason jar lids
- Holsum de Puerto Rico, Toa Baja, PR – Deliciosas Vanilla Crème Sandwich Cookies
The event is part of Walmart’s investment in communities and job growth through its 10-year, $250 billion commitment to American manufacturing. In 2013, Walmart made a commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion by 2023 in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. The Open Call event underscores this commitment and is one way the company continues to invest in American jobs by supporting U.S. manufacturing.
Open Call included more than 600 meetings with pitches for a wide range of products, including toys, apparel, natural health and beauty aids, and food, including many organic offerings. Participants traveled from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The event featured diverse entrepreneurs – 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 encourages supporters to join the conversation about Open Call on social media channels using #WalmartOpenCall and #MadeinUSA.
For more information on Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, visit http://corporate.walmart.com/americaatwork.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.