OPERATIONS

Entrepreneurs get the call from Walmart

BY Dan Berthiaume

Applicants to the Walmart Open Call supplier competition now know if they made the cut.

Hundreds of U.S. businesses have received invitations to Walmart’s sixth annual Open Call event for made-in-America merchandise. Open Call is a two-day showcase for aspiring Walmart suppliers to meet face-to-face with buyers and pitch their products. This year’s Open Call takes place at Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters June 18-19.

Attendees at this year’s Open Call event could secure deals ranging from a handful of local stores, to supplying hundreds or even thousands of stores, as well as Walmart.com.

Some of the businesses invited to this year’s Open Call include: Arizona Coffee Roasters, Phoenix – European Café Tea; Ed Hipp Foods Inc., Philadelphia – Turkey Canadian Bacon; Emerald Beverages, Los Angeles – Biodegradable Paper Straws; FreshBrew Group, Houston – Accolades Signature Decaf Coffee; Ivy City Smokehouse, Washington, D.C. – Smoked Atlantic Salmon; JHeirs, Flint, Mich. – Baby Teething Mitten; Plastilite, Omaha, Neb. – Biodegradable Foam Cooler; Sunsof, Miami – Savory Beef Enchiladas.

Walmart says Open Call is included in a larger commitment it made in 2013 to purchase an additional $250 billion in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. by 2023. During the June 2018 event, 350 businesses from 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico met with Walmart buyers. At least eight have gotten their products on Walmart shelves, including providers of gourmet sauces, natural skincare products, and wine blends.

More than half of all businesses attending Open Call in 2018 self-identified as diverse, including nearly 25% identifying as women-owned.

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