For me – and I’m sure, many of my colleagues – Tuesday will go down in history as one of my best days of work here at Walmart. Our Open Call event was like speed dating for suppliers of U.S.-made products, and our buying team worked hard all day to select some great new items that will not only delight our customers, but also create jobs.
Our merchants cleared their schedules to attend, in total, more than 800 meetings with more than 500 companies. About half of these suppliers have never done business with us, and so our halls were packed with unique and innovative products.
Some deals are still being finalized, but our buyers did sign many contracts that same day. A plate constructed to hold tacos upright and shampoo made from beer are just a few of the more notable products you can expect to see in our stores by the holiday season – and even sooner on Walmart.com.
Another interesting innovation we saw was Trash-Ease, a simple, portable metal frame that allows you to hang a trash bag on a picnic table or kitchen counter. The product’s inventor, John Cundy, received a request for 50,000 units – an order he says is the biggest he’s ever received.
We know that a company the size and scale of Walmart can create change for the better in a variety of ways. But on Tuesday, I saw it happen in a matter of minutes. Trash-Ease’s inventor is a dad whose day job is sculpting for a car company in Detroit, so he used those skills to create a product that made cleaning up after his son’s track meet easier. With his recent order from Walmart, his practical invention has gotten a big boost – and so have the people that may be hired as a result of the needed production.
After John’s meeting, he told us he felt like he was
“floating.” Being a part of that kind of excitement was a privilege – and I
can’t wait to see the momentum continue at our U.S.
Manufacturing Summit in August.