This article originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.
Ed Hipp is gearing up to sell his turkey bacon in local Walmart stores.
The owner of Ed Hipp Foods Inc. received a deal after participating in Walmart’s sixth annual Open Call event in Bentonville, Arkansas. During the event, attendees from approximately 450 companies bid for their products to be featured in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores around the country.
“It was a golden opportunity,” said Hipp, whose business is based in the Olney section of Philadelphia.
Hipp’s line of 18 products is currently carried by large corporate supermarkets such as Acme, Fresh Grocer, Giant, Save a Lot and Shop Rite and about 500 small businesses throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey.
When he met with Walmart buyers, Hipp, 74, was hopeful that they would choose two of his turkey products. However, they opted for his turkey Canadian bacon.
“Out of 18, that’s my eighth bestselling product,” Hipp said.
“That product would have to be promoted extremely well.”
Hipp expects that Walmart stores in the region will carry about 40,000 to 50,000 pounds of turkey bacon a week. However, the deal is still being finalized.
Ed Hipp Foods is one of 20 Pennsylvania-based businesses that participated in this year’s Open Call.
During the event, more than 100 companies moved on to the next step, with several dozen getting deals on the spot to go on Walmart store shelves. For the fourth year in a row, Walmart offered all suppliers with shelf-stable items the opportunity to sell on Walmart.com.
The initiative is part of the retail giant’s commitment to buy $250 billion in U.S. products by 2023.
In addition to pitch meetings, the two-day event provided informative sessions for supplier-hopefuls. These included a supplier mentoring session, a discussion on how suppliers can grow their businesses and a presentation on how to get products ready for retail.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was on hand to address the entrepreneurs. He shared why buying local products makes economic sense and is good for the communities Walmart serves.
“If we can create great local jobs, we’re going to have better stores and better, stronger communities,” McMillon said.
“We love to buy things that are close to our distribution centers and our stores because it creates those jobs, while also helping us be more efficient. So, this is strategic and something we should be doing as a business. But we also bring an emotional component to this because we care about people. We want everybody who has anything to do with Walmart — whether they’re a customer or an associate or a supplier of ours — to benefit.”
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