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Could an Erie-made product end up in Walmart stores nationwide?

Local business owner pitches her product to world's largest retailer

June 13, 2018 - ERIE, Pa - An Erie business owner is pitching her product to the world's largest retailer. You may have seen her product in stores locally, but they may soon be in stores nationwide. 

It's a simple idea - a more practical lid for mason jars. 

"I'd make my salad dressing in there and it'd be a mess. I thought I really need to get a cap for the Mason jars that will allow me to shake, pour, and store my salad dressing out of. And it didn't exist."

Karen Rzepecki left her career at GE to follow her entrepreneurial spirit, ultimately creating "reCAP Mason Jars". 

"There's lots of different uses for the mason jar, which is like the most multi-purpose vessel that you have in your household," she says. 

It started with the simple "pour cap" and in just 6 years has expanded to a whole line of products. Every one of them is manufactured in Erie. She also employs eight people at her corporate office in the Renaissance Building in downtown. 

She says in the last 6 years she's sold 1 million units of her product, but there's more than 45 million mason jars made every year. She believes the opportunities for reCAP are endless. 

"We think it would be super cool to have a recap next to every new mason jar on the planet," she says. 

On Wednesday, her vision may become a reality. The world's largest retailer is sitting down and listening. 

Kinna Thomas, a Senior Buying Manager at Walmart explains, "It's the American dream! It's an opportunity to have American companies come and pitch their ideas and potentially end up in hundreds or even thousands of Walmart stores."

Out of thousands of applications, Rzepecki was chosen to be amongst 500 entrepreneurs to pitch her product to Walmart during their annual "open call". With 4,600 locations in the US, they're the biggest seller of Mason Jars. That's why Rzepecki feels that "reCAP" is the perfect fit. 

"They want to invest in US manufactured products and they expect it to have an impact of a million new US jobs," Rzepecki says. 

Thomas adds, "We know many of these people have been working what seems like a lifetime to get in front of us and that's not something we take lightly at all."

Rzepecki is hoping by the end of this experience, she'll have earned a spot on a store shelf near you. 
 


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