BENTONVILLE, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than 800 small businesses from across the country pitched their U.S. manufactured products yesterday during 30-minute one-on-one meetings with Walmart and Sam’s Club merchants as part of the company’s first-ever virtual Open Call event. Approximately 56 percent of these business self-report as diverse and more than 175 received a “yes,” advancing them to the next stage in the process to land on store and club shelves. In addition to Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs, the scope of opportunity available to participants includes Walmart.com, Walmart Marketplace, and Samsclub.com, and all participating businesses producing shelf-stable products were invited to sell their products on Walmart’s various online platforms.
“No other retailer provides small businesses with as many channels and avenues to success and we’re thrilled with their response to Walmart’s first-ever virtual Open Call event,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “It’s truly inspiring to see the strong entrepreneurial spirit of this year’s participants. Despite the challenges small businesses have faced this year, they’ve brought incredible energy, innovation and ingenuity to their product pitch meetings and we are excited about what this means for our customers, our communities and our commitment to source an additional $250 billion in U.S. manufactured products that support American jobs.”
In January 2013, Walmart announced its commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023. Walmart’s Open Call is one way in which the company continues investing in this commitment.
Nearly 2,100 people joined the General Session, which subsequently received more than 34,000 views, to hear from Walmart executives including company president and CEO Doug McMillon, who described the various ways Walmart is helping smaller suppliers and the thousands of small businesses that lease space inside Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs address the business impacts of the global pandemic. Some ways the company is helping include implementing a rent relief program for store and club tenants, making changes to its Supply Chain financing program and giving small businesses like craft brewers more space on store shelves.
“We want to help small business owners weather the current situation and take care of their employees, so that after this pandemic, they and the communities they serve can thrive,” McMillon said.
Celebrities adding to the excitement of the day included Chef Robert Irvine who shared advice for how businesses can pivot during times of crisis, five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin who encouraged participants to “be confident, believe in yourself and believe in your product,” and Snoop Dogg whose gin label Indoggo will be available in Walmart stores next spring.
More than 4,800 small businesses representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and Mozambique applied for the chance to pitch a Walmart merchant, a 44 percent increase in submissions from last year. The virtual nature of this year’s event also made it possible for the company to increase the number of meetings. Nearly 900 meetings were held – also 44 percent more than last year.
The most popular categories were food, health and wellness, and personal care and products pitched reflect consumer trends in healthy foods, natural products, ethnic cuisine, snacks and adult beverages.
Some of the businesses moving on to the next step with Walmart include:
- Medzone – Face Balm (Kansas)
- The Dog Perk Corporation – Pet Bandana (Minnesota)
- Fresh Nature Foods – Green Chickpea Falafel Cakes (Washington)
- K-Co (veteran owned) – Brass Hose Nozzle (California)
- DNA Vineyards – Wine (California)
- Sierra Sage Herbs, LLC – Natural Cold Sore Relief (Colorado)
- RPM, Inc . – Plastic Plant Coaster (Minnesota)
- ChocZero – Dark Chocolate Keto Bark (California)
- MyBread – Gluten Free Baked Goods (Wisconsin)
- Rastelli Foods Group – Chuck and Short Rib Craft Burger (New Jersey)
- Vow Beauty – Facial Toner (New Jersey)
- TipSee Light Co. LLC – BBQ Light (New York)
- Pompette Beverages, Inc. – Clementine Berry Hard Sparkling Water (New York)
- That’s My Girl, Inc. – Elastic Waist Dress (New York)
- GRIP THAT FLIPS, LLC – Translucent Mobile Device Grip Flip (Florida)
- Skinny Latina – Hot Sauce (Florida)
- Advanced Graphics, Inc. – Salty Bones Folding Fishing Ruler (Florida)
- Unique Solutions USA – Water Clarifying and Bio-cleaner (Florida)
The five states with the largest numbers of businesses receiving “yes” responses are California, New York, Florida, Ohio, and New Jersey.
Walmart 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 265 million customers and members visit approximately 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2020 revenue of $524 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 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 corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.