People have been working feverishly at the new Walmart Neighborhood Grocery to get ready for the October 28 Grand Opening of East Ridge’s newest grocery store.
“We are on our eighth truck of freight and we started last Monday,” said William Venable the store’s manager. “We had an empty building and this team has come in and constructed the shelves and bolted them down and started stocking. It’s amazing in eight days that we’ve done all this.”
The latest prototype Walmart Neighborhood Grocery offers 41,000 square feet of shopping. When all is said and done consumers will have more than 30,000 different items from which to choose. This store is a little different than the store in Ft. Oglethorpe, Venable said. Although it has similar square footage, Venable said it’s got split isles that aren’t as long as the other stores. It will also offer financial services such as check cashing, bill payment and money grams, like Walmart Supercenters. Of course, the store will have a pharmacy and a drive-thru window for convenience of customers.
“We’ve also got all the ‘.com’ services of a supercenter store,” he said. “You can buy something on line and ship it here for pickup.”
Mary Lynn McCarter, the store’s assistant manager, said the East Ridge Neighborhood Grocery will have a unique “pizza bar.” The deli department _ which, of course, is yet to be stocked along with all the fresh produce _ will be bigger than other stores.
“We will have fresh bread baked daily along with ‘take and bake’ items you take home and bake yourself,” McCarter said.
The East Ridge store will carry a larger line of products than most stores, she said. All told there will be 100,000 items for consumers to peruse on opening day. Among those items will be a pet section that boasts fresh, refrigerated pet foods.
Venable said the store has hired many of its 100 employees already. Many of them are East Ridge residents. But they are still looking to hire even more.
“We’ve hired 25 employees from this neighborhood here around us,” he said. “They can actually walk to work. We want to be a part of the East Ridge Community.”
Venable said that Walmart is working to partner with the city of East Ridge and the community already. On Oct. 22 from 6-8 p.m. the store will have a “Friends and Family” event. Walmart will be donating grants to various organization that benefit the larger community, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Stop the Madness.
“We are already involved in reaching out to the community and being involved,” he said. “We are working with the high school withe a ‘clean-up/fix-up’ program.”
East Ridge officials are excited that the store has created about 100 jobs for people in the community. All the employees at the store will make at least $9 an hour, officials said. Many more who have transferred from other stores will be making a higher salary.
In addition, the store will pump local sales tax money into the coffers of East Ridge on land that once produced much less sales tax. McCarter said she believes the store will produce as much as $100,000 a year in sales taxes to the city.
Those interested in applying for a job at the East Ridge Walmart Neighborhood Grocery can visit Walmart’s Website to get the ball rolling.
The new East Ridge store’s telephone number is 423-508-1197. The pharmacy telephone number is 423-504-1154. The store even has its own Facebook Page.
“Look, we’ve already got 268 likes,” Venable said.