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Hopeful entrepreneurs descend on Walmart for annual ‘open call’

It was make it or break it time for more than 500 invited entrepreneurs invited to Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, hoping to land the deal of a lifetime.

On June 18-19, during Walmart’s 6th annual Open Call event, the invited companies met face-to-face with buyers looking for new U.S.-manufactured products for store shelves and the chain’s online site.

The companies attending the event represent a broad geography, including 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Australia. (Collectively, they are manufacturing their products in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.) Of the states represented, California, Florida and Texas had the highest representation of locally headquartered companies.

The products being pitched reflected a broad range of categories, from pet supplies and power tools to sporting goods and sweet snacks. With some companies pitching multiple products, more than 600 meetings were scheduled with Walmart buyers.

“In 2013, Walmart made a commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023,” said Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart VP for merchandising services and U.S. manufacturing. “Our annual Open Call is one way we continue to invest in this commitment while discovering new items that fulfill the needs of our customers.”
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