Fourth Annual Event Showcases American Entrepreneurship, Ingenuity and Diversity
BENTONVILLE, Ark., 2017-Jun-23 — /EPR Retail News/ — Walmart is inviting more than 500 businesses from across the nation to present their Made in the USA products June 28 to the world’s largest retailer in Bentonville, Ark., giving entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to potentially reach millions of Walmart customers.
Now in its fourth year, Walmart’s Open Call is one way in which the company continues to invest in American jobs by accelerating the growth of U.S. manufacturing. This year’s event will showcase American entrepreneurship and celebrate ingenuity and diversity. Nearly half of all businesses attending Open Call self-identify as diverse, including 25 percent identifying as women-owned.
“We are thrilled that entrepreneurs from across the country, including many diverse-owned businesses, continue to respond so strongly to the opportunity to participate in Walmart’s annual Open Call,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vice president for U.S. Sourcing and Manufacturing. “While finding products our customers want is a year-round focus for our buying teams, Walmart’s annual Open Call is a special opportunity to connect our buyers with companies that are manufacturing products in the U.S. and to identify new and unique product solutions.”
Attendees this year represent 47 states and Puerto Rico. States with some of the largest representation include California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.1
With some companies pitching multiple products, more than 750 meetings have been scheduled with Walmart buyers representing a broad range of product categories.
From secret sauces and pocket-sized hair gel, to photographic mouse pads and bowls designed to keep cereal crisp, this year’s diversity of new, innovative products represent a broad range of categories such as food and beverages, home décor and apparel. While some businesses are larger, many are “kitchen-table” companies, vying for a chance to work with the world’s largest retailer and earn a place on the shelf. Some of this year’s Open Call attendees include:
- Oceans 97 (Baton Rouge, LA.) – Oceans 97 has a goal of bringing restaurant-quality shrimp and seafood to the customers of Walmart. Founder Jarvis Green is a former New England Patriots football player who says that if his company reaches its goal, it would be a greater achievement than playing in three Super Bowls and winning two of them.
- Micah Specialty Foods (Cleveland, OH) – Imagine starting a company from your kitchen with just your mother’s marinade sauce recipe from Ghana and a dream. That is exactly what Micah Specialty Foods did. It is the company’s goal to bring more African-American products to the shelves of Walmart through the help of Open Call.
- The Blonde Italian (Cleveland, OH) – The Blonde Italian is a woman-owned business that carries a line of seasonings to spice up the lives of people from all walks of life. Their goal is to get the unique blend of spices in their Garden Garlic Seasoning on the shelves of Walmart and into the cabinets and recipes of customers.
- Haven Sales & Marketing (Ontario, CA) – When two Texas A&M college students began to jazz up soy sauce in their college dorm room, no one thought there would be an opportunity to have their Gourmet Orange Chili Soy Sauce sold in Walmart stores. Manufactured and marketed by Haven Sales & Marketing, the company has already created 70 jobs manufacturing this product and other flavored soy sauces.
- Nuts & Cows (McAllen, TX) – When Elizabeth Davis started Nuts & Cows with $84 and a dream, she never imagined that one of her products would be considered by Walmart. Buttery Pecan Butter is an all-natural product that is made with love in her own kitchen. Elizabeth is passionate about her products and the idea that anyone can follow their dream, no matter who they are.
- 51 Club (Spokane, WA) – It all began when one person thought there had to be an easier way to change a flat tire. 51 Club is bringing their product, the Spare Me 5-in-1 Rescue Tool, to Open Call in the hopes of getting every Walmart shopper with car troubles out of a bind. The “all purpose, all weather and all terrain” tool is manufactured in Spokane, where the creator lives.
- Mary’s Kitchen (Richmond, VA) – Some people may think that their Sweet Potato Pie is the best, but Mary Lee truly believes her pie takes first prize. When she was a child, people would line up to get her mother Dorothy’s sweet potato pies; and now Mary is bringing the same recipe to Open Call. This is a chance for her to share her family’s tradition with Walmart shoppers.
- Kid Ease (Dallas, TX) – Kid Ease was created by a mom looking for a safe, lab-tested cleaning spray to clean up sticky little fingers and faces. Owner Jessica Gore is excited to bring her product to families shopping at Walmart. She hopes that she can ramp up production and create more jobs, if she receives a deal.
- Forever Fit (Minneapolis, MN) – Soggy cereal is no way to start the day, according to Forever Fit. That’s why they created the Perfect Cereal Bowl uniquely designed to keep cereal crisp before you get to the bottom of the bowl. The product is manufactured in the same Minnesota town where it originated.
- Photos to Design (Woodland, CA) – Just like the phrase “pretty as a picture,” Photos to Design has a desire to share beauty captured through a photo. The product, Be-U-Ti-FUL, is a special mouse pad with floral images taken by owner Janet Jones. She hopes Open Call gives her a greater ability to share her images.
- Anndori Outdoor Art (Greensboro, NC) – Have you ever tried to create a large Christmas ball from chicken wire and stringed lights? It’s not easy. Sandra Alexander made a simple craft solution that creates beautiful holiday décor that won’t leave scratches from chicken wire. She hopes that the Craft Lover’s Holiday Light Ball Kit brings consumers joy, but that the product also allows her to create more jobs.
- Disaster Supply Warehouse (Fairfield, OH) – Disaster Supply is a woman-owned business that brings two products to Open Call. The first is a disposable utensil stand that ensures your silverware is clean even when dining outside. The second is Buxom Betty’s Button Stays. A product that helps prevent ladies’ shirts from gaping open around buttonholes.
- C & C Foods (Charleston, SC) – Sweet Savina Surprise is a sauce with a little heat and a little sweet. A unique pepper discovered on an African mission trip inspired the one-of-a-kind recipe made with locally grown ingredients in the Charleston area. C & C Foods hopes to bring this surprising sauce to the shelves of Walmart through Open Call.
- Pocket Gel, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA) – If you have gotten caught in the wind, rain or snow and wished you had some hair gel, Pocket Gel believes it has the product for you. Founder Nathan Failla began putting hair gel in foil to carry to the gym when he realized he couldn’t be the only one with this need. He continued to refine the packaging until he created Pocket Gel Instant Hair Gel.
1 States represent location where business has self-reported that their product is manufactured.
Wal-Mart Stores, 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, over 260 million customers and members visit our 11,695 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 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.
Source: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.