A Fayetteville man had an idea to invent a plastic taco-holder when he was a student at the University of Arkansas, and on Tuesday, Hugh Jarratt had the biggest sale of his life—Walmart bought one million taco plates.
“I ate way too many tacos in college,” He said, “And I got tired of them falling over.”
Walmart had their first ever “open-call” for U.S. inventors as part of a new initiative to get more American products on their shelves. Jarratt was one of 800 inventors to go before Walmart buyers to pitch their inventions to secure a sale.
Jarratt’s wife and business partner Nicole said reality hadn’t sunk in as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Last night for a second, we were like so we now have to produce a million taco plates,” His wife said, “Where do we start? Where do we go from here?”
The couple said they first started selling their taco plates five years ago at the War Eagle Craft fair. After selling most of his inventory, Jarratt said he realized he needed to look for a local manufacturer.
“I Googled injection molding in Arkansas, and the first one that comes up in Poly Tech Molding Inc.,” He said.
The couple said they immediately felt welcomed by the Prairie Grove company, which was only a 30 minute drive from their home.
“It just feels good to be able to work with people, and give them more business that are really kind of like our neighbors,” Jarratt said.
Poly Tech plant manager Gaylene Deere said the million plate sale will bring in huge production numbers for their company. Right now the company employees 50 people, but the massive sale will give the local business an opportunity to employ up to 10 more.
“We are ecstatic,” Deere said, “We are really happy for Hugh, and for Poly Tech Molding…that’s going to give us the opportunity to create more jobs in the area and just grow with him.”
Both Jarratt and Deere are proud that the taco plate is a local product. Jarratt is a Fayetteville native, the manufacturer is in Northwest Arkansas and many of the raw materials including packaging and dyes come from Fort Smith.