Wal-Mart Supercenter brings new level of commerce to Winslow

Relocated Winslow store to open as first Supercenter in town, brings 200 new jobs and added conveniences to residents and travelers

The first Wal-Mart Supercenter in Winslow opened its doors today, and store associates are well prepared to handle the rush of customers, including Route 66 tourists, truckers and Native Americans from the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation. Designed as a one-stop family shopping center, the newly relocated Supercenter at 700 Mikes Pike Blvd., is located directly behind the former Wal-Mart discount store. Doors to the new Supercenter will open at 8 a.m., following a 7:30 a.m. grand opening ceremony.

In addition to bringing 200 new jobs to the Winslow area and announcing $33,000 in donations to community groups, the new 158,421-square-foot Supercenter will showcase many new Wal-Mart features including an attractive store layout, navigational signage and numerous consumables and pet products for shoppers who prefer bulk purchases.

"The leaders of this store really thought about our local customers and what their needs are," said Store Manager Adriane Williams. "We realize we are a main stop for tourists along Route 66 and a frequent shopping destination for the Hopi and Navajo tribes. We feel all of our customers will be pleasantly surprised at the variety of features and merchandise we offer. They'll find changes in nearly every aspect of the store."

The Winslow Supercenter will not only create convenience for area shoppers, but tax revenues contributed through the new store will provide an additional boost to the local economy. The Gallup, N.M., and Showlow Supercenters were the closest to Winslow residents until the grand opening of the local store.

"We believe the Wal-Mart Supercenter will aide in advancing the general welfare and prosperity of Winslow, as well as our surrounding communities," said Bob Hall, executive director of the Winslow Chamber of Commerce."The expansion of the store is an indication that we are a growing community in Winslow, with a positive future ahead of us."Over the past 17 years, the Winslow store has grown to better serve the needs of the local community. The store originally opened in 1989. The new Supercenter contains 93,000 additional square feet from its former location. The discount store will be demolished in a few days to make room for additional parking for the Supercenter.

According to Williams, the Wal-Mart Supercenter now features a full line of groceries as well as a bakery, a delicatessen, a frozen food section and meat, dairy and fresh produce sections. Customers can order special occasion cakes and buy freshly baked pastries from the bakery, and purchase a variety of hot chicken dinners and salads at the delicatessen. The store has 36 general merchandise departments including apparel and accessories, fine jewelry, health and beauty aids and an extensive pet department with horse and chicken feed available. The store's lawn and garden center features a large selection of live plants.

The store also has expanded home entertainment and electronics departments that showcase well-known consumer electronics such as MP3 players, iPods, DVD players for home or auto and high-definition televisions. Home décor and organization areas feature furniture, storage solutions and coordinated accessories grouped together to simplify the decorating process.

A customer-oriented layout and new signage are some of the immediately noticeable changes upon entering the store. The store is one of the first to display new interior "navigational" signage to help customers find their way around the new store. The interior features wider aisles, wood floors in the apparel departments and coordinated merchandise displays.

The new Supercenter's exterior exhibits a dark brown and sand color palette, and the interior was built with an environmentally friendly design, with skylights, energy-efficient lighting and concrete flooring. Other store features include a Tire & Lube Express, a Subway restaurant, a one-hour photo lab, a vision center, a pharmacy, a SmartStyle hair salon and a Da-Vi nail salon. In addition, the store will have a Wal-Mart Connect Center for wireless phone sales. The store will be open to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will include 10 full-service, five express and four self-checkout lanes.

Upon opening, the store will announce $33,000 in donations to a number of organizations, including a $4,000 grant to the Winslow High School Future Business Leaders of America chapter. FBLA is a high school organization composed of students who want to learn more about the business field.

"We are thrilled to receive this grant because money has been an obstacle for the club in the past," said Shelly Cunningham, co-sponsor of the FBLA program at the school. "These funds will allow us to take our members to more FBLA sponsored events throughout Arizona. These events allow our students to network with other FBLA members and Arizona business professionals, compete in business skills competitions and develop opportunities to succeed in college and the business world," explained Cunningham.

A full list of groups receiving donations upon the store's opening include: Alice's Place, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Arizona, Blue Ridge Fire District Auxiliary, Bread of Life Mission, Catholic Charities Community Services, Joseph city Fire District, Parenting Arizona, Standin' on the Corner Foundation, United People Who Care Organization, WHS FBLA, WHS Band, Winslow Rotary Club, Winslow School District Product Donation and Winslow Soroptimists.

The store will also have a budget to give donations away locally throughout the year. Organizations can contact the store to inquire about grants, matching grants and opportunities to raise dollars outside store locations throughout the year.

Numerous activities are planned for grand opening day. The 7:30 a.m. grand opening ceremony will feature a color guard and Wal-Mart associate Brenda Graham and her sister Mary Alice Hayes performing the national anthem. Heber Jackson, a loyal customer of the store, will cut to ribbon to the new Supercenter. Winslow Mayor Allen Affeldt, former Mayor Jim Boles, and representatives of the Winslow Chamber of Commerce will attend the event. Character appearances, product samples and giveaways will also take place throughout the day.

"Working for Wal-Mart provides a number of job opportunities and choices for so many people, from seniors looking for supplemental income to young people just starting their work experience," said Williams, who started her own Wal-Mart career as an hourly vision center associate in 1998 at the store in Show Low. "It makes me proud to work for this company where there truly are unlimited opportunities."

The store plans to employ more than 300 associates, which includes approximately 200 planned new jobs created by the relocation. The national average wage at Wal-Mart for full-time hourly associates is approximately $10.11 per hour.

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