TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Twelve entrepreneurs from Kansas will have the chance to pitch their locally-sourced products to the big-wigs at Walmart.
Walmart says on June 14, it made its selections for the ninth annual Open Call event. With nearly 1,200 small and mid-sized business owners invited – including 12 from the Sunflower State – it said 2022′s registrants mark the largest group ever chosen to participate in the 2-day event.
Walmart noted that finalists represent all 50 states and Washington, DC, with nearly 60% identifying as a diverse-owned business. It said the business owners have the choice to pitch shelf-ready products directly to Walmart and Sam’s Club merchants either virtually or in-person on the second day of Open Call.
According to the international grocery store chain, each supplier will have a 30-minute one-on-one pitch meeting for a chance to secure deals which range from supplying products to a few local stores to supplying products to hundreds of locations as well as online and in the Walmart Marketplace.
Walmart indicated that 2022′s Open Call has been set for June 28 and 29.
Also in 2022, Walmart said it notified some lucky entrepreneurs of their selection in unconventional and innovative ways. It said some finalists were invited to join a Zoom meeting with representatives about the application process. During the meeting, it said these business owners were notified of their spot at this year’s event and were also congratulated by Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.
Walmart noted that the Jonas Brothers launched their line of premium popcorn called Rob’s Backstage Popcorn exclusively at Walmart earlier in 2022. In addition to the celebrity surprise, it said two owners were also told they would advance to Open Call via drone delivery.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is contagious, and that energy is a big part of what makes Open Call so much fun,” said Scott Gutche, Senior Director, US Manufacturing. “Being able to surprise some of the business owners who’ll be taking part is the perfect way to kick off this year’s celebration of the American Dream.”
Walmart said Open Call is its largest sourcing event and supports its 10-year commitment to American jobs with a $ 350 billion investment in products that are made, grown, or assembled in the US
For the first time in 2022, Walmart said it extended an early access period for Marketplace sellers to submit their applications. It said more than 4,500 entrepreneurs applied, and over 13,000 products were registered.
In addition to one-on-one pitch meetings with merchants, Walmart said Kansas-based participants will have the chance to hear straight from Walmart executives and merchants on day one of the 2-day event. It said smaller breakout sessions will be available throughout the day where suppliers can learn more about valuable topics and resources available to them.
Walmart noted the Kansas companies which will advance to Open Call include The 2Z, of McCune, who will pitch the 2Z Don’t Tread on Me; Princeton Popcorn Co., of Princeton, who will pitch the 8lb Mushroom Shape Popcorn Kernels; Pyramid Foods, LLC, of Shawnee, who will pitch the Pitmaster LT’s Classic BBQ Sauce; and SawHaul, LLC, of Chaunte, who will pitch the SawHaul Complete Kit for Polaris Ranger.
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