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Walmart says ‘yes’ to almost 200 Open Call finalists

Walmart selected roughly one-quarter of the small businesses who made virtual pitches at its eighth annual Open Call competition.

Held Oct. 1, 2020, Open Call invited more than 800 small businesses from across the country with U.S.-manufactured products to attend 30-minute, one-on-one, virtual meetings with Walmart and Sam’s Club merchants. Walmart hosted the event virtually for the first time ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 175 participants 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 the Walmart and Sam’s Club websites and Walmart Marketplace third-party online retail platform. All participating businesses producing shelf-stable products were invited to sell their products on Walmart’s various online platforms.

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)

More than 4,800 small businesses representing 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia, and Mozambique applied, a 44% increase in submissions from 2019. The five states with the largest numbers of businesses receiving “yes” responses are California, New York, Florida, Ohio and New Jersey.

Approximately 56% of these businesses self-report as diverse. The most popular categories were food, health and wellness and personal care, with products pitched reflecting consumer trends in healthy foods, natural products, ethnic cuisine, snacks, and adult beverages.

Nearly 2,100 people joined the Open Call general session live, which subsequently received more than 34,000 views throughout the day, to hear from Walmart executives. This included company president and CEO Doug McMillon, as well as chef Robert Irvine, five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

“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 VP 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.”

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