Walmart has announced the finalists for its eighth annual Open Call event, with more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses receiving their official invitations to pitch their shelf-ready products to Walmart merchants. It marks the largest number of business owners ever to take part in the one-day event. That includes four businesses with products manufactured in Mississippi that will be taking part.
Walmart will hold Open Call in a virtual format for the second year in a row, set for Wednesday, June 30. Suppliers representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will each have 30-minute one-on-one meetings with Walmart merchants, where they’ll have the opportunity to pitch their U.S. made, grown or assembled products. Participants could secure deals ranging from a few local stores to supplying hundreds of Walmart and Sam’s Clubs locations as well as Walmart.com and Walmart Marketplace.
On March 3, Walmart announced a new commitment to spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown, or assembled in the United States. Walmart’s Open Call is one way in which the company supports this commitment. More than 4,300 businesses applied for the chance to pitch their products, and more than 12,500 merchant meetings were requested, marking one of the largest number of Open Call applications received in the event’s eight-year history.
“We’re thrilled with the growth we’ve seen in our Open Call event as we’ve seen time and again its power to support new and existing jobs and help small businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “We know that U.S. manufacturing matters a lot to our shoppers. Programs like Open Call serve to bolster communities, provide more value to our customers and improve the way we do business.”
Walmart surprised several dozen unsuspecting applicants with their Open Call invitations this year. Applicants were invited to join a Zoom meeting where they were told they would receive “updates and important information” about their Open Call application. The unsuspecting business owners joined the Zoom meeting expecting to hear about next steps in the application process and were surprised with the news that they had already secured their spot at this year’s Open Call event instead.
In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart and Sam’s Club merchants, participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives at the hour-long kickoff of the event. Smaller breakout sessions will be available throughout the day where suppliers can learn more on valuable topics and about resources available to them.
Walmart corporate news release