DORAL (CBSMiami)- It looked like something out of Shark Tank at a Walmart in Doral Friday.
A panel of three judges sat in front of a table where local sales pitches were taking place. The goal of those giving the sale pitches was to get invited to the Walmart Headquarters in Arkansas and try to get their products on Walmart shelves nationwide.
What they didn’t know, however, was that this was not an audition but instead a surprise celebration for they had already been selected.
“Very happy! Happy! Happy! Happy!” said Julio Sabillon, founder of DJulio Foods.
Sabillon was presenting his line of spices and rubs to the panel.
Through the tears, he was presented the ticket to Arkansas and now has to prepare for a ten minute sales pitch, which is the only thing that stands in the way of his spices being sold in Walmart stores across the country.
“Supporting local suppliers and American made products,” said Adriana Reyes, the Senior Director of Public Affairs for Walmart.
In addition to helping the local companies and suppliers, she also added that many customers are requesting American made products to be available.
“This just answers that call,” Reyes said.
The process starts when local suppliers submit an online application, then a few like the ones present at Walmart make it to the final audition at the company’s headquarters.
In the end, it can be in as little as 12 months for a local business to be supplying Walmart’s across the country.
Reyes was even able to point out companies that were at the most recent open call and now have products in the stores.
“They have been able to expand and create new plants, open new spaces, hire new employees,” said Reyes on what it means for a company that goes from a local to national supplier.
Not only does the company benefit, but the surrounding communities do too.
For companies like Sunsof, being selected for open call also offers them a chance to transition from a supplier to a retailer.
“It’s a different venue for the business. We can now become a retailer as opposed to just a supplier. It’s great, awesome!” said Sunsof Sales Representative Juan Funes.
For these local companies, this is an opportunity they have worked so hard for already and a surprise moment they will remember forever.
They are now off to Walmart’s headquarters and it may not be long before you see their products in stores across the country.