Two Utah County companies will have their products sold in Walmart stores, regionally or nationally, after they recently received a “yes” at Walmart’s Open Call event.
The two companies that moved on were Springville’s Little Giant Ladder Systems and Eagle Mountain’s Shark Industries.
According to Walmart’s website, the event is one way the company supports and invests in their commitment to help boost job creation and U.S. manufacturing. About 5,000 businesses applied and approximately 800 were invited to present their products, according to Natalie Stumph with Little Giant Ladders.
“We were one of those companies, and this year, since COVID-19 and travel did not happen, we did everything virtually,” Stumph said. “We presented our product virtually to them, which is our newest King Kombo ladder. It’s made 100% right here, in Springville, and we got a ‘yes,’ so we’re going into a number of those locations with that product.”
The company’s ladders will start in 2,500 Walmart locations while the company’s products are also sold in some other major retailers.
Stumph said it is an exciting opportunity for the company and allows their product to attract the attention of more buyers throughout the U.S.
Little Giant Ladder Chief Operating Officer Randy Stumph expanded on the company’s prospective expansion. After being in business for over 40 years, the brand is one of the top five in the country for ladder sales.
“At one point, we grew to $180 million in sales,” Stumph said. “It grew out of just a small company, and he (founder Hal Wing) has had multiple facilities. He had some in American Fork, then he moved it to Springville, but he’s had warehousing down in Payson. Currently, we have a 240,000 square-foot facility in Springville, and then, we also have a warehouse down the street from us.”
The announcement is also an exciting development for Shark Industries, the developers of a special snow shovel. The company was founded in Utah County after the founder’s snow shovel formed a kind of teeth that allowed it to cut through packed snow in his driveway.
According to market manager Scott Jenkins, this has been their most successful year yet.
“It’s had several names, but most recently, we’ve referred to it as the teeth down snow shovel,” Jenkins said. “What sets it apart from others is that it will tear apart packed snow. Imagine those times when you drive on a snow covered driveway and then you can’t get that snow up, our shovel has some teeth on the bottom, and it’s amazing at how well it can get underneath that packed snow and tear that snow up.”
Shark Industries has been working with Walmart since 2017, but the company has gone through a couple of buyers since it was invited to the same event that same year.
After changes in buyers, Shark Industries lost touch with the corporation before it was invited, again, to this year’s event with a new product that hit the perfect price point — at $19.99 — for Walmart shoppers.
“We were excited to be in the Walmart open call event and be able to present it to the buyer,” Jenkins said. “Getting a ‘yes’ is an awesome thing.”
After their first Open Call in 2017, the company saw great success with the biggest hardware store in Canada, where advertisements for their product ran during primetime television and the hockey playoffs.
Additionally, the shovels are making their way into regional Costcos, and now, with the latest news that they will be in 100 Walmart stores, the company is on the rise.
“That was huge, and that is what we have been working for with Walmart all of these years,” Jenkins said. “That’s the equivalent of a regional test and it puts you in line to then participate in line reviews. A line review is basically, ‘Here’s all of our products, do we want to make a change in that product line and here are some possible alternatives.’”
“If you do a regional test, and it does well, you’re in line to possibly replace a product that is currently on the shelf,” he added. “Now, you’re not talking about just regional sales but potentially modular, which is more controlled from the corporate side. They’ve got 5,000 stores in the U.S. and 3,500 to 4,000 of those are in snow country and you could be in every one of them. It’s like winning the Super Bowl.”
For two Utah County companies, who have proven to be expanding rapidly, this move into Walmart stores is another big step in the right direction.