BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 15, 2018 – Walmart recently surprised local business owners with an invitation to Open Call, an annual event in which hundreds of entrepreneurs get the chance to pitch their products to Walmart buyers for a chance to land on Walmart store shelves and walmart.com. The unsuspecting business owners were asked to come to their local Walmart store prepared to pitch their product to a store manager, while the store manager was waiting for the opportunity to share that their spot at the coveted event had already been secured. Open Call is scheduled for June 13 at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
“We are thrilled to continue Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing by officially inviting more than 400 entrepreneurs for this year’s Open Call,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s vice president of Merchandise Services and U.S. Manufacturing. “This is an exciting opportunity not only for Walmart as we continue to offer new products to customers at an everyday low price, but also for these hard-working individuals who are now a step closer to making their dreams come true.”
“I’m thrilled that there’s a chance Walmart could place an order for the cream I’ve been working hard on for five years,” said Star Ridsdale, owner of New Mexico-based SW Therapy and Rehab. Ridsdale hopes that her pain-relieving cream will end up in the hands of millions of Walmart customers. “This could be a dream come true. I developed this product to help my mother with debilitating arthritis. I know it works and I hope that it will help many more people coping with pain and anxiety.”
“Our mission at The Drop Stoppers is to make the lives of busy parents just a little bit easier,” commented JoyLynn Waganer, Owner and Creator of The Drop Stoppers, based in St. Peters, MO. “Having a relationship with Walmart will allow us to spread the word to an even larger community and help parents all over. In addition to saving a little sanity across the country, as The Drop Stoppers grow we look forward to being able to create additional part-time, flexible jobs – perfect for local moms.”
Customers can join the celebration and wish their local entrepreneurs luck on their journey to Open Call by joining conversations on social channels using #MadeinUSA and #WalmartOpenCall.
Other businesses that received the surprising news include:
- Pop Culture Gourmet Popcorn, LLC from Norfolk, VA is quickly capturing the attention and taste buds of everyone who samples the product.
- Joanne Farinacci of J. Bell-Jones LLC from Tipton, IN looks forward to getting her festive board game, The County Fair Game, into the hands of millions of Walmart customers.
- Phoenix, AZ-based Goodfibers, LLC knows a successful pitch for their All Clear Baby Wipes next month could mean the deal of a lifetime with the world’s largest retailer.
- Zip n’ Store brings convenience to storage. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Len Kensey is excited to meet with buyers during Open Call to demonstrate the value of the product.
- Onxard, CA-based Primal Essence is focused on helping all people eat and drink for their health and a space on Walmart shelves would be a huge help in reaching their goal.
- Detroit, MI is home to Crystal Eikcaj Skin and Hair Care, LLC who specialize in organic products that provide relief from a variety of ailments.
- Product inspiration comes in all forms and Healers Pet Care out of Vancouver, WA has a heartwarming story. Founder Terri Entler, hopes pet owners across the country will soon be able to utilize her products for their four-legged family members.
- Livell Co. is a family owned business manufacturing Therma-Stretch © Therapy Wrap out of Pinellas Park, FL. Their soothing products may soon be on the shelves of Walmart.
- Jay Colicchia is betting on Kiwi Kiss, an authentic fruit treat headquartered and manufactured in Boca Raton, FL, as the next healthy treat Walmart customers will love. HL Products, LLC. will be showcasing a warmer set during their visit to Bentonville, AR for Open Call. The Plymouth, MI based company understand the importance of warmth during the winter.
- Southfield, MI-based TRUEfit4life Distribution Co., LLC will be showcasing their odor fighting product as a problem solver for Walmart customers.
- Yolanda Edwards will be a favorite among beach goers if her Emma Jane Belani Group secures a spot on the shelves for their product currently manufactured in Detroit, MI.
- Robert Vavrinak from Branson, MO, is hoping The Door Balancer will impress the Walmart buyers during his Open Call pitch in June.
- Eric and Mary Claire VanderSchaaf of Austin, TX have a sweet product, literally. Tree Hive Syrup hopes to secure a spot on the breakfast aisle in Walmarts across the country.
- JoAnn Tilghman, Chief Granny of Lakeland, FL-based Granny Jo Products hopes to bring their fashionable and affordable products designed for seniors to a Walmart near you!
In all, 17 businesses were surprised – including women-, diverse-, and veteran-owned businesses. Hundreds more received an e-mail notification of acceptance to Open Call shortly after the surprise announcements. Invitees will travel to Walmart’s headquarters next month from 48 states and Puerto Rico for one-on-one meetings with Walmart buyers. Some deals will happen on the spot, while others may take more time with follow-ups between buyers and potential suppliers after the event has ended.
Attendees at this year’s Open Call could secure deals ranging from a handful of stores in a local market, to supplying hundreds or even thousands of stores, Sam’s Club locations and Walmart.com. The daylong event informs, empowers and encourages all who attend while providing a great networking opportunity for local entrepreneurs. In addition, for the third year in a row, Walmart will offer suppliers with shelf-stable items the opportunity to sell on Walmart.com.
In January 2013, Walmart announced it intends to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products that support American jobs over 10 years. Based on data from Boston Consulting Group, it’s estimated that 1 million new U.S. jobs will be created through this initiative.