Walmart opens doors to community!

This morning I joined Irmo Mayor John Gibbons and Congressman Joe Wilson in speaking at the Grand Opening of our newest corporate citzen, Walmart. I must say the ceremony was first-class and included an opening invocation as well as the local ROTC presenting the colors and National Anthem. Several community leaders from the Irmo Chamber were in attendance, along with State Representative Chip Huggins and Irmo Council Members Hardy King and Harvey Hoots.

Below is a press release from Walmart:

Walmart brings 300 jobs and sustainable features

IRMO, S.C., Aug. 6, 2009– A new Walmart opens this month in Irmo, bringing 300 new jobs, savings on a full line of groceries and an increase in tax revenue to support the area’s economy. Nonprofit organizations will also benefit from the retailer’s ongoing charitable contributions and support for community projects. The Walmart, located at 1180 Dutch Fork Road, will be open to customers at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Economic Impact Includes 300 New Jobs

The new Irmo Walmart will employ approximately 300 associates, according to store manager JD Hacker. Hacker began his Walmart career in 1983 as a part-time hourly sales associate at a store in Macomb, Illinois.

Store Designed to Improve Customer Experience

In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements have all come together in the company’s newest stores, such as the Irmo Walmart, with fast service, a friendly shopping experience and clean stores.

The new Walmart features wide aisles, enhanced service and a layout designed to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. Walmart aligned the departments that customers shop most frequently. The pharmacy, for example, is adjacent to food making it easier for customers to pick up their prescriptions while shopping for their groceries.

“The layout of the store is easy to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for everyday necessities,” said Hacker. “By grouping the products that our customers most often purchase including health and beauty and pet supplies, we are making one-stop shopping even easier.”

A bright interior color palette creates an inviting shopping experience and helps define the store’s merchandise areas. Lower shelving creates an improved sightline and directional signage on every aisle helps customers find what they are looking for quickly. Walmart also combined the customer service desk, site to store pick-up location and photo lab in one area near the entrance. Customers now have easy access to these services, as well as associates on hand to help meet their needs.

Community Organizations Benefit from Grand-Opening Grants

As part of Walmart’s commitment to the communities in which it operates, $13,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation will be presented during the grand-opening celebration. The organizations receiving grants include:

Sharing God’s Love Food Bank
Chapin We Care Center
Dutch Fork Elementary School
City of Irmo Police Department
City of Irmo Fire Department
Ballentine Elementary School

Store Design Incorporates Environmentally Friendly Features

The Irmo Walmart, like all new Walmart stores, includes energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The store’s skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floor’s finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms. The new store also operates a recycling program and will promote sustainable product purchases.


Back-to-School Savings

The new Irmo Walmart will open just in time for customers to find additional savings on back-to-school merchandise. Showcasing its ongoing commitment to unbeatable* prices, Walmart has a selection of $9 product offerings that make it easy to do the math when it comes to adding up savings on everything you need to start the school year off right. The $9 offers include a diverse collection of back-to-school necessities ranging from backpacks to socks and eyeglass frames to folders.

“With great brands at great prices, we are helping students going back to school or off to college get the things they need and want, and helping mom to accommodate her budget,” said Hacker.

Ribbon-Cutting Celebration 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19

Community and business leaders will join Walmart associates at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Irmo High school ROTC will present the colors, and a store associate will sing the national anthem. Throughout the day, customers will enjoy character appearances, product samples, and giveaways.

About Walmart

Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store atwww.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $378 million to local communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com.

*Our stores will match the price of any local competitor’s printed ad for an identical product. Not applicable toWalmart.com. Restrictions apply. See store for details.

EDITOR’S NOTES

An invitation-only open house for grant recipients and other VIPs is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. It will include preview tours and check presentations to representatives of community organizations. Reporters and photographers are welcome.

Store Manager JD Hacker is available for interviews and to arrange photo opportunities or tours. He can be reached at 803-781-7775.

FACT SHEET

Irmo Walmart
Store facts
Location: 1180 Dutch Fork Road
203,000-square-foot Walmart

Store opens at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19, following a 7:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony
Store manager: JD Hacker
Store Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m., 7 days a week

Store features
Full line of groceries including a bakery, a deli serving fresh food and meal solutions for moms, meat and dairy products, fresh produce, beer and wine
More than 30 merchandise departments such as apparel and accessories, a lawn and garden center, health and beauty aids, and an expanded electronics department
Convenience services include a pharmacy, digital photo processing center, Walmart Connect Center, and a MoneyCenter

Leased areas and services include Regal Nails, Smart Style Hair Salon, Blimpie Sub Shop, and All South Federal Credit Union

Charitable giving

$13,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to the following area organizations:
Sharing God’s Love Food Bank
Chapin We Care Center
Dutch Fork Elementary School
City of Irmo Police Department
City of Irmo Fire Department
Ballentine Elementary School

Employment

Store plans to employ approximately 300 associates

The average wage at Walmart for full-time hourly associates in South Carolina is approximately $11.35 per hour*

Walmart benefits – available to eligible full- and part-time associates – include health insurance with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers a 401(k) plan and profit sharing contributions, whether an associate contributes or not, store discount cards, company performance-based bonuses, stock purchase program and life insurance

* Average wage taken July 2009.

See www.walmartstores.com for details.

For more information
Store manager: JD Hacker, 803-781-7775

Walmart information online: www.walmartstores.com; merchandise sales:www.walmart.com

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