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Walmart invites U.S. suppliers to Open Call event

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Companies urged to apply now to pitch their products in June

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart on Tuesday invited companies with American-made products to pitch them at its sixth annual Made in the USA Open Call event, scheduled for June 18 and 19.

Walmart Open Call event in Bentonville, Ark.

The retail giant urged interested suppliers to apply by April 30 at for a chance to get face-to-face pitch meeting with a Walmart buyer at this year’s Open Call event, which will be held at Walmart’s Home Office campus in Bentonville, Ark.

“Our customers tell us that products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. are important to them and we work year-round to identify local suppliers and source products that our customers are proud to buy,” Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vice president of merchandise services and U.S. manufacturing, said in a statement. “Walmart’s Annual Open Call gives us a unique opportunity to meet entrepreneurs from across the country and discover new, niche and innovative products that fill a need for our customers and support jobs right here in America.”

The two-day event is designed to encourage suppliers to do business with Walmart, providing them with information, meetings and networking opportunities. During the 2018 Walmart Open Call, nearly 600 meetings were held with product pitches that includes toys, apparel, natural health and beauty aids, and food, according to the company. Prospective suppliers traveled from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. More than half of the attending companies identified themselves as diverse, including nearly 25% that identified as women-owned. Suppliers have the chance to win deals supplying products to a handful of Walmart stores in local markets, the company said. Those with the right products and the right capabilities could end up supplying hundreds, or even thousands of stores, the company said.

Those deals could represent huge opportunities for small suppliers.

“Our participation in the Open Call opportunity has had an amazing impact on our business,” said Justin Mark, of JustinTimeSnacks. His company recently launched its its Homeplate Pizza in Missouri. “The Walmart deal we secured has led to expansion for increased production that allows us to now own a 5,000 square-foot manufacturing facility. Additionally, all of our ingredients and even the packaging is sourced through local businesses creating jobs across the St. Louis area.”

Other companies that got deals with Walmart at last year’s event included:

  • Ahssa Foods LLC of Mesa, Ariz., which makes low-fat gourmet sauces.
  • Bodylove Natural of Rogers, Ark., which makes natural skincare products.
  • Cumberland Cos. of Knoxville, Tenn, maker of fog-free shaving mirrors.
  • Mame’s Burrito Company of  Denver, Colo., which makes organic breakfast burritos.
  • The Perfect Granola of Rochester, N.Y., which makes naturally sweetened granola bars.
  • RPM of Savage, Minn., which offers placemats for pet food bowls.
  • Shoe Crazy of Chesterfield, Va., which specializes in unique wine blends, and
  • Wings Cosmetics LLC of Andrews, Texas, which produces a winged eyeliner stamp.

Walmart’s Open Call event is one of the ways the company strives to meet its commitment — announced in January 2013 — to support U.S. manufacturing jobs by buying an additional $250 billion in American-made products by 2023, the company said.



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