Wal-Mart’s new face lift is un­veiled

Eight-week re­mod­el­ing pro­ject aim was to en­hance cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence

Cherokee County Herald - - SPORTS - By TERRY DEAN Edi­tor

Fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of a ma­jor re­mod­el­ing/ren­o­va­tion pro­ject, Cen­tre Wal-Mart re­cently hosted a re-grand open­ing cer­e­mony to ex­tend ap­pre­ci­a­tion to its lo­cal cus­tomer base and also to 350 as­so­ciates for a job well done.

Dwayne Wood, store man­ager, Cen­tre Wal-Mart, said the pur­pose of the ren­o­va­tion was to en­hance the cus­tomer shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Ev­ery aisle in the store, ex­cept for frozen foods, was moved at least three feet or more.” Said Wood. “Nine hun­dred gal­lons of paint were added in­side and out­side the store. There was 110,000 square feet of tile (or 57 pal­lets) of tile that we went through and prob­a­bly, 2,000 gal­lons of wax on the floors.”

Jane Baswell, a Wal-Mart as­so­ciate, sang the Na­tional An­them. The Rev. Jim Wright, pas­tor of Cen­tre First Bap­tist Church, fol­lowed with an in­vo­ca­tion to open the cer­e­mony.

Ac­cord­ing to Wood, the eight-week pro­ject was an ef­fort of 300 reg­u­lar Wal-Mart as­so­ci­a­tions and a third party crew of some 50 as­so­ciates who were brought in to as­sist.

“I per­son­ally want to thank all the as­so­ciates my­self as well,” said Wood. “Over the eight weeks, we have gone through changes in the store. We’ve dealt with ad­ver­sity through those changes. We have had some bumps, we have had some ups, we have had some downs, but we have man­aged very well and we have got­ten through all the changes. The fo­cus on the cus­tomer was the num­ber one goal from the start. I am glad to re­port we had no safety, re­mod­el­ing re­lated ac­ci­dents in the store. So great job ev­ery­body.”

Wood noted, “With the fo­cus on the cus­tomers through­out the eight weeks, we ac­tu­ally ran a 3.7 per­cent sales in­crease dur­ing the en­tire pro­ject which is very un­heard of in the Wal-Mart world. We ap­pre­ci­ate you guys again for the sales in­crease. Good job!”

Wood in­tro­duced Cen­tre Mayor Tony Wilkie who shared a few words.

“It is good to be here,” said Wilkie. “I go back to when the idea of bring Wal­Mart to Cen­tre was dis­cussed. I was not an elected of­fi­cial, but liv­ing in Cen­tre, when some­thing of that na­ture gets out, there is ex­cite­ment. Peo­ple said, ‘Hey, we don’t have to go to Rome, Ga., we don’t have to go to Gads­den, Ala., this is some­thing that hap­pened right here in our home town.’”

“It be­came a re­al­ity and I can say this as be­ing the mayor,” said Wilkie. “We need Wal-Mart, not only be­cause of the rev­enue it brings, but be­cause it em­ploys peo­ple and we want you to be able to live and sur­vive right here in our city, right here in our county. We see that we need the rev­enue and you are pro­vid­ing that for us. Some of the coun­cil mem­bers that are here that have been on the coun­cil for so long that be­fore Wal-Mart was here it was a strug­gle. It is still a strug­gle now a days but with your help, it makes our job a lit­tle bit eas­ier and pro­vide those ser­vices that we need to pro­vide to our res­i­dents of the city.”

“With all of that be­ing said, thank you for what you do,” said Wilkie. “I am very proud of what the store has ac­com­plished, the achieve­ment here and our work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Wal-Mart through and across Amer­ica, es­pe­cially lo­cally. For you as­so­ciates, thank you for what you do. Thank you for what you do for us here in the city, Keep up the good work. God Bless you.”

“Our peo­ple make the dif­fer­ence,” said Wood. “Our name badges, for the past 10 to 15 years have al­ways had ‘Our Peo­ple Make the Dif­fer­ence.’ This is the eighth store I have been in and the peo­ple here, as­so­ciates here are the best as­so­ciates I have ever worked with.”

For Cen­tre Wal-Mart As­so­ciates, Wood said, there’s more to it than col­lect­ing a pay­check. On be­half of the store, he rec­og­nized sev­eral em­ploy­ees with the Ded­i­ca­tion to Hard Work and De­ter­mi­na­tion Award in­clud­ing Lau­ranne Bussey, Jesse Flores, Shirley Stout, Dan Davis, Brad Terry, Ryan Par­adis, Pa­tri­cia Gid­dings and She­lia Colvin.

“In the last cou­ple of months, with ev­ery­thing we have done for Re­lay For Life, it looks we are go­ing to be able to present a check for $10,000 this year,” said Wood. “I have had two or three cus­tomers talk to me in the store. They told me they came here (from other places) just to or­der a cake be­cause they know it is fresh and they know it is go­ing to be dec­o­rated well. We ap­pre­ci­ate all the ladies over there in the bak­ery.”

“An­other cus­tomer called,” said Wood. “They were out of town, all the way from Ten­nessee. They ran into an as­so­ciate who knows how to change a tire and put a tire on. So af­ter hours, we opened up the shop, got the cus­tomer a tire and got the cus­tomer got back on the road.”

“We had two as­so­ciates who lost their homes in the re­cent storms,” said Wood. “So we had a group of as­so­ciates step up. The kids had lost toys, so out of their pock­ets, out of their kind­ness, out of their hearts, they pur­chased game sys­tems for them to get their minds off ev­ery­thing.”

Dur­ing the past win­ter’s snow­storms, Wood com­mented, “Ev­ery mem­ber of man­age­ment in the build­ing ac­tu­ally stayed overnight in the Days Inn so we could stay over if any­body needed any­thing. We ap­pre­ci­ate our man­age­ment team for that.”

“Most re­cently, with the power out­ages, we ran on safety backup lights for six hours and then those started dy­ing,” said Wood. “We had a mem­ber of man­age­ment in the build­ing who came in the next morn­ing and all the freight was gone! They got care bat­ter­ies, put spot­lights on the aisles, so we ac­tu­ally stocked gro­ceries at night. We ap­pre­ci­ate overnight man­age­ment and as­so­ciates for that.”

On a daily ba­sis, Wood said, cus­tomers tell how they drive other ar­eas to shop at the Cen­tre Wal-Mart Store.

“They say they drive here be­cause our as­so­ciates treat them like they are fam­ily,” said Wood. “They help them any way they can. That is good for the store, good for the city, I ap­pre­ci­ate the fam­ily attitude we have here. That means a lot to me and the cus­tomers in the area.”

“In clos­ing, we want to thank the as­so­ciates for all their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion over the last eight or nine weeks,” said Wood. “It was a to­tal team ef­fort. I am proud of each and ev­ery one of you guys, work­ing ex­tended hours, the things you did dur­ing the storms. I also want to thank the city and com­mu­nity for be­ing pa­tient with us.”

A rib­bon cut­ting and grand open­ing cer­e­mony was held re­cently for the newly-re­mod­eled Cen­tre Wal-Mart. On hand for the cer­e­mony, pic­tured, from left, were Cen­tre Wal-Mart As­so­ciates Gail Webb, Carey Ch­es­nut, John Har­bour, Ed­die Smith, Store Man­ager Dwayne Wood, Wal-Mart As­so­ciates Sil­via Bryant and Charles Mauney, Cen­tre Mayor Tony Wilkie cut­ting the rib­bon, Wal­Mart As­so­ciates Shirley Mauney, Jane Mat­tingly, David Chap­man, Pam Gar­many, April McGatha and Chero­kee County Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Chero­kee County Cham­ber of Com­merce There­asa Hul­gan.

Terry Dean/ Chero­kee County Her­ald

THE NA­TIONAL AN­THEM.

(above) Wal-Mart As­so­ciate Jane Baswell sings The Na­tional An­them to open the re­cent rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony for the new­lyre­mod­eled Cen­tre Wal­Mart Store. AS­SOC IATE RECOG­NI­TION. ( right) Dwayne Wood, man­ager, Cen­tre Wal-Mart Store, rec­og­nizes Lau­ranne Bussey, left, with a Ded­i­ca­tion to Hard Work And De­ter­mi­na­tion Award along with sev­eral other Wal-Mart as­so­ciates dur­ing the re­cent rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony to open the newly-re­mod­eled store.

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