Four Hoosier businesses have been selected by Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to potentially land their products on the shelves at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations. Walmart says more than 800 small businesses from across the country pitched products as part of its first-ever virtual Open Call event.
Walmart says it’s Open Call event is part of the company’s initiative to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing through buying an additional $250 billion in products that support American jobs by 2023.
The businesses from Indiana moving on include:
- Socket Lock-it, Caitlin Gehlhausen in Cicero
- Harrington Noodles, Crystal Garza in Plymouth
- Eco Green, Melvin Stoltzfus in Terre Haute
- Bosma Enterprises, Lee White in Indianapolis
In an interview with IIB, Socket Lock-It founder Caitie Gehlhausen says the product was developed after Gehlhausen was unsuccessful in finding a product that could serve as both a phone grip and card holder. Gehlhausen says she’s secured a patent and partnered with a manufacturer in Elwood to manufacturing Socket Lock-It.
“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 vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing. “Despite the challenges small businesses have faced this year, they’ve brought incredible energy, innovation and ingenuity to their product pitch meetings.”
In addition to Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs, the company says e-commerce opportunities are also available to participants.
“The next step in the process is for the small businesses to continue conversations and follow-ups with buyers after the Open Call event has ended,” said Charles Crowson, Walmart local communications director, northern U.S. “Walmart wants to help small businesses succeed and during this next phase, the merchants coach them on several aspects of business with the goal of helping them become a successful supplier. Coaching includes a variety of operational topics that are unique to each supplier.”
Walmart says more than 4,800 small businesses applied for the chance to pitch a Walmart merchant, a 44% increase in submissions from last year. The company says the virtual nature of this year’s event also made it possible for the company to increase the number of meetings. Nearly 900 meetings were held, also 44% more than last year.