Arizona businesses compete for shelf space in Walmart

On Your Side's Susan Campbell talks to local businesses whose products will be coming to your local Walmart's shelves very soon!
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 12:04 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Justin Hillsten is building a following on TikTok to sell his product called the DrainFunnel.

The drain insert for bathtubs is his solution to a long-standing problem. “I have two younger sisters, and we shared a bathroom growing up, and we always had a clogged drain,” Hillsten said. “I finally had enough of it.” He said it’s taken years of prototyping and testing to come up with the product called DrainFunnel. For now, Hillsten sells it on his website, but soon, he will have the chance to reach a much wider audience after pitching his product to Walmart buyers during the company’s Open Call event.

Hillsten and the retail giant are still figuring out the terms of the agreement, but he says he is expecting his product to be available soon on Walmart.com. “Total game changer,” he said. “If we can do well online, then we have a better chance of getting in stores. Obviously, it would be a huge deal. We drive traffic with TikTok, but people that want to buy it are skeptical because they don’t know us.” Hillsten said that because Walmart has the brand recognition as well as the trust, he’ll have a sale.

In all, 1,100 businesses pitched their products during the Open Call event. Five Arizona businesses received offers, including Scottsdale-based Starday Foods. “The buyer tried our product and loved it,” said Chaz Flexman, the CEO and co-founder of Starday Foods. The company’s Gooey brand hazelnut spread was recently introduced in Fry’s stores. Now it will be in Walmart, too.

“Being accessible to more consumers in the places they shop every day is our end goal, to make sure that those products are in front of them and accessible to the masses,” Flexman said. By 2031, Walmart said that they plan to invest more than $600 billion on products that are made, grown, or assembled in the U.S.