The June 30 “Open Call” online event will let entrepreneurs pitch to Walmart’s merchandise buyers “new, niche and innovative” products “made, grown or assembled” in the United States. The deadline for suppliers to apply to participate is April 30.

Even the largest retailers need to seek new merchandise that will differentiate them from the competition. And on June 30, Walmart Inc. will conduct its annual “Open Call” event for entrepreneurial merchandise manufacturers and suppliers to pitch their unusual wares.

Walmart president and CEO John Furner, president and CEO, said last month that Walmart plans to spend over the next 10 years “an additional $350 billion on products made, grown or assembled” by suppliers in the United States. He added that Walmart estimates the additional spending will support “more than 750,000 new American jobs.”

Walmart is working with RangeMe, a provider of a product discovery and sourcing online platform, to manage the applications for this year’s Open Call. The deadline for companies to apply is April 30.

The 2021 virtual event follows the first virtual Open Call Walmart conducted last year because of the pandemic. At the 2020 event, some 850 entrepreneurs pitched products, Walmart says.

Walmart didn’t say how many suppliers or products it accepted last year, but it notes that suppliers can vie for “opportunities that range from promoting products in a handful of stores in local markets to supplying products to hundreds, even thousands, of Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and online.”

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“We know how much this opportunity means to small businesses, and we can’t wait to see the new product submissions from potential new suppliers,” says Laura Phillips, senior vice president for Global Sourcing & U.S. Manufacturing.

One of the suppliers that participated in One Call last year, Le’Host Hair & Wigs, began promoting its products in “some 300” Walmart stores across the Southwest and Southeast regions of the U.S. Henry Johnson, who co-owns Le’Host with his wife, Haith, says in a press release about Open Call that Walmart was helpful in preparing them how to pitch their products. “They sent us a video that they send to everyone who’s going to present to buyers and said, ‘This is what we’re looking for.’”

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