One of my favorite things about blogging is getting fun opportunities to meet local business owners and entrepreneurs. I LOVE learning about the unique businesses and products being created in Minnesota, and I enjoy sharing it all with you on my blog!
But in addition to local, I’m totally supportive of anything that helps simplify life and save money. As a result, I recently attended a U.S. Manufacturing event at the Walmart in Shakopee, to meet some local business owners and entrepreneurs who were creating affordable, unique products to help simplify life for families.
Now you may be thinking – Walmart? An event to showcase local companies at a national retailer?
I was surprised at first to learn that Walmart was doing something like this, but then I realized that it totally makes sense. Actually, it’s part of a huge commitment Walmart has made to invest $250 billion in products made, sourced or grown in the U.S. by 2023.
Walmart is the largest retail corporation of discount department stores in the world, with 787,919 jobs forecasted in the U.S. in 2019. That’s a LOT of jobs, but actually, Walmart is helping to make many more jobs possible. In just the past year, Walmart has invested more than $8.5 billion with local Minnesota suppliers, and has supported more than 80,000 jobs across the state.
So if you have a unique idea and are making a product that people want and will buy, Walmart is helping to provide opportunities for you to sell that product, put it affordably in the hands of everyday consumers, and make a living from it.
Last Wednesday from 4:00 – 6:00pm at the Shakopee Walmart Supercenter at 8101 Old Carriage Court, the public was invited to a U.S. Manufacturing Event. The event’s theme was “Minnovation: Simple Solutions to Everyday Problems,” and each of the local suppliers showcased products that help solve those pesky problems that happen to us all. At this event, I got to meet some representatives of local companies whose products are available at Walmart stores, both locally and nationwide.
The first representatives I met were Nicholas Sovell of RPM Drymate, and Lyn Town, Walmart Specialist for RPM Inc. Their company is located in Savage, MN.
RPM Drymate makes absorbent, waterproof mats for all purposes from pets to auto to home. The Drymate material is 100% polyester with a soft, felt-like surface and a non-slip, waterproof backing. As I saw, the mats are really thin but really absorbent. Plus they’re really versatile and can be shaped however you need them to be.
They have many types of mats, including for the kitchen, the garage, and for pets like this corner litter trapping mat.
And prices are pretty affordable. Here are their Walmart prices:
Second, I stopped by the Spot Stuff table, which was represented by Tim Murphy, COO and Max Thommes, Sales Associate. Spot Stuff is based in Excelsior, MN.
Spot Stuff is a dry powder stain remover that removes oil and grease stains, like salad dressing, suntan lotion, or motor oil. It’s all-natural and eco-friendly, and it’s super easy to use. You just dab the powder on, wait a few minutes, and it literally pulls the stain out of any fabric, even suede boots.
I watched this demonstration of a tie sprayed with WD-40, and then sprinkled with the Spot Stuff powder. It was placed next to a carpet stain that was being treated too. In both cases, you could see the color of the stain coming out into the powder. Here’s the before and after of the tie:
It’s easy to think of many situations where an oil or grease stain can occur! Just think of eating a juicy fast food burger while driving, and getting some of the grease on your shirt, or even your shoe. This stain remover can come in handy for everyday situations like that! And they have two sizes available which are both under $5.00.
The smaller size ($2.97 for a 2-pack travel kit) is good to keep with you, and the bigger size ($4.97 for a shaker bottle) is good to keep at home.
Speaking of food…
I couldn’t resist tasting some food samples they had at the event. Especially because it was something I LOVE – chicken salad and butter lettuce.
The chicken salad was Walmart’s Marketside chicken salad, but what was unique was that it was being served on a bed of butter lettuce that was grown actually not far away in Minnesota.
Lauren Rice from Robinson Fresh was at the event representing Living Greens Farm in Faribault, Minnesota. Living Greens farm is a vertical, indoor growing facility that grows different types of head lettuces, herbs and microgreens year-round. They supply Walmart with butter lettuce which I tasted – I’m no lettuce expert, but I do love lettuce for a lot of purposes, and it tasted yummy and fresh!
Whenever I buy fruits and vegetables from Walmart I think it all must be shipped from far away. How cool to know that I can buy produce at Walmart from a year-round farm here in Minnesota!
A MILLION Jobs! Walmart’s Investing in American Jobs Initiative
This was a great event to attend to learn about Minnesota-made products you can buy at your local Walmart.
But this event was not unique to Minnesota. This event was actually part of a multi-week program across the country to raise awareness of Walmart’s Investing in American Jobs initiative. And as I mentioned above, the retailer’s commitment to purchase $250 billion worth of products to support American jobs by 2023. Walmart is doing a lot not just to provide jobs, but to help local manufacturers create more jobs as well. As a result of their effort, they estimate creating ONE MILLION U.S. jobs!
For more information on Walmart’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing, visit https://corporate.walmart.com/americaatwork.
(Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Walmart. However, all opinions are 100% mine.)