BENTONVILLE, Ark. – September 7, 2007 – Since they were hand-picked in 1991 by the man Sam Walton tapped to develop the Supercenter concept store, the relationship between Wal-Mart and Martori Farms has grown organically to make the Arizona company the largest grower/distributor of cantaloupe in the nation.
In September, Wal-Mart will showcase Martori Farms produce in conjunction with the company’s Salute to America’s Farmers program. Throughout the month, customers can identify Martori Farms produce through signs inside their community Wal Mart Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores.
The Scottsdale-based grower originally supplied the first 35 Wal-Mart Supercenters with Arizona-raised, Kandy brand cantaloupe. Today, Martori Farms is the exclusive provider of variety melons and organic cantaloupe for all 2,470* Supercenter and Neighborhood Market stores nationwide.
Over the years, Martori Farms and Wal-Mart have collaborated to enhance efficiencies, tackle problems and improve the quality of the product on the shelves for consumers. Working together, they found methods to halve the number of days between harvest and delivery to store shelves.
“Time and time again, Wal-Mart provided the opportunity and we provided the solution,” said Martori Farms President Steve Martori. “It’s a relationship that has continued to evolve and improve during the past 16 years.”
Since September 2006, Wal-Mart’s Salute to America’s Farmers program has honored select growers across the country.
“Our relationship with Martori Farms is an excellent example of the kind of collaboration we strive for with our suppliers,” said Ron McCormick, Wal-Mart Stores vice president for produce. “Wal-Mart buys more United States agricultural products than any other retailer in the world and we’re proud to salute American farmers like Martori Farms. We understand that consumers want to purchase quality products that help support the local economy and we’re proud of our ability to bring wholesome, home-grown selections to our Arizona customers. This commitment not only allows us to offer fresh, quality selections but also to grow the local economy.”
Originally founded in the early 1900s as a produce supplier in New York, Martori Farmers quickly realized the value of being both grower and distributor. The family launched their produce farm operations in Arizona in the 1930s, and began specializing in melons and broccoli in 1982. Today they have farms across Arizona, including a 15,000 acre operation near Wickenburg.
Wal-Mart’s relationships with U.S. suppliers extend beyond its support of local agriculture. In 2005, Wal-Mart spent $200 billion on merchandise through its relationship with 61,000 U.S. suppliers. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc spent $1.6 billion for merchandise and services with 917 suppliers in the state of Arizona in FYE 2007. As a result of these supplier relationships, Wal Mart supports 42,509 supplier jobs in Arizona.
As of August 2007, Wal-Mart has 52 Supercenters, 12 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Discount Stores and 13 Sam’s Clubs, for a total of 31,181 associates in Arizona.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.
*as of August 1, 2007