Walmart has launched the application process for its eighth annual Open Call, at which aspiring entrepreneurs can pitch their products to the retailer’s buyers virtually on June 30.
The deadline to apply for participation in this year’s event for products made, grown or assembled in the United States is April 30.
Earlier in March, Walmart revealed its commitment to spend another $350 billion on U.S. -made, -grown or -assembled items, supporting an estimated 750,000-plus new American jobs. The Open Call is one way that the company supports this commitment.
This year’s event will feature similar programming to last year. As well as one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart buyers, attendees will hear directly from Walmart executives during the Open Call’s hour-long kickoff. Smaller breakout sessions will take place throughout the day, at which suppliers can learn more about valuable topics and available resources.
“Open Call is like watching the American Dream play out in real time,” noted Laura Phillips, Walmart SVP for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “You see on full display the spirit and energy of new ideas and the hope of what could be – founded on creativity, hard work and self-belief. It’s inspiring. Walmart’s announcement earlier this month to spend an additional $350 billion on products made, grown or assembled in America makes Open Call even more exciting and important. We know how much this opportunity means to small businesses, and we can’t wait to see the new product submissions from potential new suppliers.”
This year’s participants could secure opportunities that range from promoting products in a few stores in local markets to supplying products up to thousands of Walmart locations, Sam’s Clubs and online.
“Walmart makes it easy – they really do,” said Henry Johnson, who owns Le’Host Hair & Wigs with his wife, Haith, regarding their experience at last year’s Open Call. “They sent us a video that they send to everyone who’s going to present to buyers and said, ‘This is what we’re looking for.’ … We found out what was important to Walmart as a company, in the community. What’s important to Walmart is their customers. To us, our customers are No. 1. So, when we saw that was the mindset of Walmart, we knew it was a good marriage.”
Earlier this year, Walmart began expanding Le’Host products into 300 stores across the Southwest and Southeast.
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart operates more than 11,400 stores under 55 banners in 26 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.