Retail giant Walmart is hunting for the latest and greatest in products.
To find them, the company will host an open call event on June 13 at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., the company’s fifth annual open call event. During the 2017 event, Walmart identified several new products, including some from Florida entrepreneurs that ended up on store shelves.
That included Jesse Wolfe of Orlando, whose O’Dang Hummus snacks are now in more than 2,000 stores. Terra Beauty Products Bars earned a trial in 85 stores for its Florida-manufactured Go To Sleep Natural Pillow Mist. This summer, Bakers Sto N Go cake carriers from a Delray Beach-based company will show up on Walmart shelves, too.
Kinna Thomas, senior buying manager for Walmart’s fresh bakery department, tells Coffee Talk that the open call event is a day she looks forward to all year. “It’s so much fun just to see what people bring in,” she says. “We’re just ready to have a good time and learn more about the businesses and figure out if it’s a good partnership on both sides.”
At the open call event, first in foremost in Thomas' mind is what customers want. In her department, Floridians might enjoy products with regional flavors, like key lime pies, and those items could be stocked in specific stores in that area. “Regionalization is definitely important to us at Walmart,” she says. “We want to give customers local products — products they’re familiar with.”