This week, entrepreneurs from 46 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia will converge on Walmart’s home office in Bentonville, Ark. to pitch their U.S.-made products. For its fifth annual Open Call, the mega-retailer invited more than 450 businesses to take part in one-on-one meetings with buyers to possibly get their products in Walmart stores shopped by millions of customers.
Back in 2013, the company committed to investing an additional $250 billion by 2023 in products made, sourced or grown in the United States, and one of its chief ways of doing this is the Open Call. This year’s attendees include companies producing a wide range of items, and more than half of all participating businesses self-identify as diverse, including almost 25 percent that are women-owned.
“We are so excited about this year’s event and the opportunity to meet the entrepreneurs that look to Open Call as a chance to get the big break they have been looking for,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s VP for merchandising services and U.S. manufacturing. “We are proud of the supplier success stories from prior years and look forward to helping more entrepreneurs realize the American dream.”
More than 750 meetings with Walmart buyers have been scheduled with entrepreneurs who want to get their products in Walmart stores for the first time, as well as existing suppliers aiming to expand their assortment into other areas of the store.
Of the 46 states represented this year, the states with the most companies are California, with 57; Florida (44); Michigan (40); New York (30); New Jersey (27); Texas (25); and Illinois (25).
Products represented at the event will include breakfast syrup, popcorn, baby wipes, organic skin and hair care, and fruit snacks.
No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 chart of top grocers, with $159.8 billion in its most recent fiscal year-end sales, Walmart operates 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and ecommerce websites, employing about 2.3 million associates worldwide.