Walmart Stores Inc. held its second annual “Open Call” with suppliers of American made products on Tuesday in Bentonville. The U.S. Manufacturing Summit is a two-day event held at Walmart’s Home Office and Bentonville High School. In addition to meetings with suppliers, the retailer held Supplier Academy workshops on topics such as U.S. manufacturing trends, how to become a supplier for Walmart or Sam’s Club and how to work with local and state governments.
The summit is part of the superstore’s initiative to spend $250 billion more for American-produced goods. Approximately 1,000 meetings with suppliers where held during the two-day event, and 30 states had representatives in booths to meet with suppliers who are looking for locations.
“Today could be your day,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S. “We’re opening our doors to provide opportunity.”
Foran, said he was looking forward to hearing the supplier pitches because he is a “merchant at heart.” Foran said the retailer was “doubly proud” when items it sold are American-made as were customers.
“There’s nothing more that I like doing than getting out there and finding new items that we can sell to our customers,” Foran said. “I love getting my hands on new items.”
Michelle Gloeckler, who oversees Walmart’s U.S. manufacturing initiative, said the retailer has three ways to meet its $250 billion goal. Gloeckler said finding new products is one, the other two: selling more of what is already sold and bringing production of foreign-made goods back to the U.S.
“We need the partnership with you,” said Gloeckler, executive vice president of the consumables and health and wellness divisions and U.S. manufacturing lead for Walmart U.S. “That’s why we’re all here working together the next two days. It’s important for you to know your role in this.”