A host of local dignitaries, the East Ridge High School football team and cheerleaders, the school’s JROTC Color Guard and even Louie the Lookout helped usher in a new era in the city as Walmart Neighborhood Market celebrated its Grand Opening, Wednesday morning.
Mayor Lambert said the store will provide “good paying” jobs to about 100 people, many of whom live in the surrounding neighborhoods. And taxes generated from the local Walmart will help in part to fund a streetscaping project on Ringgold Road “that will really make it pop.”
“It’s always great to have economic development,” Lambert told several hundred people gathered in a light drizzle in front of the store during the ceremony. “But when it’s a company like Walmart, with its staying power it makes it different.”
Lambert said that the new store will help improve the quality of life of the people of East Ridge, giving them “shopping options that they didn’t have.”
The mayor went on to say that Walmart will play a big part in the city’s “renaissance.” He said in 20 years people may look back and see the store’s opening “as a critical piece in making this happen.”
The store’s manager, William Venable, praised the cooperation of city officials and his employees, which he called “The Green Team,” for all their effort in making the store come to fruition.
“It’s hard to believe it’s really here,” Venable said. “I’m proud of all the amazing hard work that the “Green Team” has done. It’s amazing. Our 90 associates, many who live in the neighborhood, have already entrenched us in the community.
“East Ridge deserves a clean, fast and friendly store,” he said. With that said, Venable led those standing in the drizzle in a company cheer for Walmart.
The Pioneer football team waited patiently for their elders to file through the front doors after the ribbon cutting, then made a bee line to the table offering free cupcakes and drinks. Louie the Lookout handed out “high fives” and “chest bumps” to anyone and everyone within his reach, as Venable directed the store’s first customers to various parts of the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.
Walmart serves nearly 260 million customers in its 11,532 stores in 28 countries, and its e-commerce websites in 11 countries. Walmart has more than 2 million associates worldwide. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart.