Walmart’s seventh annual Open Call is underway for entrepreneurs dreaming of landing U.S.-manufactured products on Walmart shelves by successfully pitching their wares to company officials during online meetings.
“Walmart’s Annual Open Call event gives us a unique occasion to identify new suppliers who can meet our customers’ needs with unique and innovative products manufactured or produced in the U.S.,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for Global Sourcing and U.S. Manufacturing.
“During this year of unprecedented challenges for U.S. businesses, Walmart remains committed to sourcing products made, grown or assembled in the U.S.,” Phillips said.
In 2013, Walmart announced a 10-year commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs. Walmart’s Open Call is one way the company continues to invest in the commitment.
“By Investing in products that support American jobs, we are able to bring new exciting products to our customers, support new jobs in our local communities and invest in small business across the country,” Phillips said.
The Open Call, scheduled for Oct. 1, kicks off Walmart’s celebration of U.S. Manufacturing Month and will include programming similar to previous years. In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart buyers, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives and learn from company leaders during small breakout sessions designed to inform, empower and encourage suppliers.
“For the first time, this year’s Open Call event will be virtual, enabling even broader participation from potential new suppliers,” Phillips said. “We know how important this opportunity is for many small businesses, especially this year, and we are looking forward to seeing the new product submissions and meeting potential new suppliers.”
This year’s Open Call attendees could secure deals ranging from a handful of stores in local markets to supplying hundreds, or even thousands, of stores, Sam’s Clubs and on Walmart.com.
Gwen Hurt, owner of Shoe Crazy wine, participated in Walmart’s 2018 Open Call, where a Walmart buyer decided to test her product in 66 stores.
“We were walking into an entirely new and welcoming world,” said Hurt. “Everyone was so professional and kind throughout the process.”
“We’ve been thrilled to work with Walmart and are excited about the continual growth of our product,” Hurt continued. “Thanks to this relationship, we’ve been able to expand our operations to 15 employees while reinvesting in our community through the purchase of a once-abandoned warehouse and additional resources.”
“It’s a dream come true for our family,” Hurt said. Walmart is expanding Shoe Crazy Wine to 118 stores across Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.
The deadline to apply to participate in this year’s Open Call for U.S.-manufactured products is Aug. 10. The application and information about the event are at Walmart-jump.com.