In less than two weeks, Turlock's Walmart Neighborhood Market will open its doors to the world.
Until then, staff are hard at work stocking shelves and putting the finishing touches on the 60,000-square-foot store, located at 2480 Geer Rd. in the former Mervyn's building.
“We're halfway there,” said store manager Everton Lira.
The produce section has yet to be constructed. Cash registers are still stacked in boxes. And forklifts are still whizzing across the Walmart Neighborhood Market's interior.
But everything is on track for a 7:30 a.m. Aug. 14 grand opening celebration, replete with vendors, tents, and merriment.
The store will employ 95 when it opens, Lira said, all of whom have already been hired. Most Walmart employees in California are full-time, he said, but Walmart does not provide store-by-store breakdowns. Those working Tuesday afternoon were bright and chipper, eager to tell a passer-by how great it is to work at Walmart.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market is, essentially, a Walmart-owned supermarket. It is laid out much like a traditional grocery store, with wide aisles to accommodate carts and a massive selection of food products.
The store includes a full self-serve deli and bakery, focused on fresh, healthy items – there's not a single deep fryer in the store, Lira said. The health conscious commitment extends to a gluten-free section that's eight-feet long, and a sizable organic section.
That organic section won't be stocked until the day before the store opens, he noted.
“It's that fresh,” Lira said.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market also offers an assortment of general merchandise traditionally found in a Walmart, like health and beauty items, a large selection of pet goods, and everyday necessities like soap and paper towels. A massive pharmacy is also part of the development.
Simply put, the store offers the products that customers need most, all under one roof, Lira said.
“Customers, they like convenience,” Lira said. “We understand what they need, so we give it to them.”
If customers want anything not in stock at the specialized store – like TVs or sporting goods – Lira says they can order online at Walmart.com and select the Site to Store option, picking up the item at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in a few days.
And, of course, Lira says the store will feature Walmart's famous low prices.
“We want to make sure we're saving people money so they can live better,” Lira said.