HONOLULU (KHON2) — For seven years, Walmart has put out the call for small businesses to pitch their products for the chance to have them sold in their stores, online and at Sam’s Club.
This year is special. Not only because it’s the first-ever Virtual Open Call, but because four local brands have been invited.
More than 4,800 business owners from across the country applied, but only 850 made it to the virtual Open Call.
“If those companies are able to grow, that, in turn, creates more job opportunities within the respected communities,” says Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson.
“That’s growth not only individually for the business owner, also opportunities for the employees, and ultimately more opportunities for the communities we serve.”
The four Hawaii businesses that were selected to pitch their products include Smoky Valley Lotions from Kauai, Meli Wraps also from Kauai, Pono Chocolate from Maui, and Healing Noni Company from Pahoa on Hawaii Island.
“This is a noni fruit. It looks like a potato with spots,” said Healing Noni Company owner Michael Harvey. “A lot of times like I was saying, we’re selling to the people who are dealing with the retailers, and to have this opportunity to work with Walmart directly, it’s another opportunity to keep the profits within Hawaii, to provide more jobs, more stability.”
Here in Hawaii, cost of living can stressful alone.
If you’re an aspiring business owner, the challenge is much greater. But if we take anything from this pandemic, creativity is key.
“One of the great things that works in our country is the entrepreneurial spirit,” Crowson says.
“The idea that someone like Michael or someone in that same, that small business mindset, can take an idea, develop that idea, produce their goods, and then sell them to the consumer. That is what makes our country great.”
Invited businesses will be meeting with Walmart’s Team of Merchants for the virtual open call on October 1.
KHON2 wishes Hawaii’s four local businesses the best of luck.
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