Retail

8 P.R. co.’s get ‘golden tickets’ to sell to Walmart in the U.S. mainland

Viviana Mercado holds up one of the “Golden Tickets,” flanked by Carmen Ríos from Dulzura Borincana.

Eight local companies will start exporting their products to Walmart stores in the U.S. mainland, representing at least $9 million in revenue and new job creation, representatives from the companies and the mega-retailer confirmed.

The companies — B. Fernández & Hnos./Marvel International, Doctor Mecánico/Universal Manufacturing Corp., Dulzura Borincana, Holsum de Puerto Rico, Pan American Grain, Productos La Finca/Maga, R Brothers, LLC (Sangría Los Hermanos) and Suiza Dairy — were selected among at least 50 local producers to travel with Walmart to an “Open Call” event held recently stateside.

A ninth company, Omega & Delta, is expected to join the group of local suppliers as soon as they can lock down an agreement with the mega-retailer to produce private-label deodorant products.

“We’re proud to contribute to the growth of local entrepreneurs by facilitating and being a bridge for the export of their products,” said Viviana Mercado, senior corporate affairs manager for Walmart Puerto Rico.

“The experience of traveling with them and together, as a delegation from Puerto Rico, celebrate each time they signed large procurement to export their products, is proof that initiatives like this not only result in a great economic impact for the island, but inspire us to continue betting on the local entrepreneur,” she said.

The companies had the chance to present their products to high-ranking Walmart executives, including company CEO Greg Foran, during an event in which thousands of product manufacturers participated. Once their pitch was over, the companies would receive a “golden ticket” confirming their products were chosen.

The local companies will export to hundreds of Walmart locations stateside, particularly in Florida, New York and Texas, where there are high concentrations of Puerto Rican residents.

The participating companies will generate at a combined 100 direct jobs at their respective plants in Puerto Rico, where they will invest in anticipation of further growth.

Carmen Ríos, of Dulzura Borincana, noted that the excitement of participating in Walmart’s “Open Call” had to do with knowing that their products — typical candies based on fruit and nuts — will go “from being part of Puerto Rican tradition and culture to a global product.”

“We’ve worked for this moment, we’ve prepared for it and have invested $1 million in our plant in Moca. It’s hard to put our emotions into words,” she said during a news conference Tuesday. “Walmart executives believed our products are trendy snacks because of the ingredients used.”

As for Productos Maga, company representative Ana Mercedes Trigo said they presented the newest arrival to its 50-product lineup, “Maga Wellness” shakes, which were introduced to the Puerto Rico market some seven months ago.

“The health products market is growing. After presenting at the event, we were approved to sell in 234 stores in Florida and eventually Texas. We believe we’ll generate between $2.5 million and $4 million in revenue, so we will be doing our part to help Puerto Rico’s economy,” she said.

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