Walmart’s Kick’s Off 1st “Made in the USA” Open Call


Bentonville, Arkansas based big box giant Walmart announced this week that it has kicked off it’s first ever open call to more than 500 manufacturers at its world headquarters during the company’s first-ever “Made in the USA” event. During the event, suppliers will meet with the company’s senior leaders and merchants to pitch their products for stores, clubs and online.

“In an unprecedented event, we are opening our doors and making our buyers available to meet with suppliers with one goal in mind: buy more American products,” said Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S. “When we buy new products, suppliers hire people to make those products. These American jobs build families and communities, and they help our country thrive. That’s really what our domestic manufacturing commitment is all about.”

Over 10 years, Walmart will spend an additional $250 billion on products supporting domestic manufacturing and American jobs. Walmart will accomplish this goal by pursuing a multi-pronged approach that includes increasing what it already buys of U.S. manufactured goods, sourcing ‘new to Walmart’ U.S. manufactured goods, and supporting the re-shoring of manufacturing of the goods it currently buys.

Examples of products being pitched included:

  • Sleeping Bags
  • Socks
  • Bed Sheets
  • Shower Curtains
  • T-shirts
  • Trash Bags
  • TV Wall Mounts
  • Car Adaptors for Electronics
  • Office Supplies
  • Plastic Toys

“By hosting the open call, we will be able to discover new products that we didn’t know were out there,” added Simon. “We’re excited to find new items that will delight our customers at prices they can afford.  This is not a program or a promotion – this is economics. For many products, the math simply works.”

The Open Call is about more than just manufacturers pitching products. One of Walmart’s goals for the event is for people to leave better informed than when they arrived. To help achieve this aim, the company’s experts will host a series of educational breakout sessions on key merchandise topics, including:

  • Labeling and Packaging
  • Product Compliance
  • Sustainability
  • Supplier Administration
  • The Walmart Customer
  • Supplier Diversity

“Increasing Walmart’s purchases that support American jobs makes sense for our customers, our communities and our company,” said Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart’s executive vice president of consumables and U.S. manufacturing. “Our customers have told us they want to buy products that support their communities, and with changes in energy and automation processes overseas, it is increasingly cost-effective and efficient to manufacture closest to the point of consumption. We can better respond to trends and customer demand while providing great products at affordable prices.”

According to data from Walmart’s suppliers, items that are made, sourced, assembled or grown in America already account for about two-thirds of what Walmart U.S. spends to buy open call image-pdf-test

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.