After months of anticipation Turlock's first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened its doors at 2480 Geer Rd. early Wednesday morning, drawing in hundreds of eager customers ready to see what the new store had to offer.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, where store manager Everton Lira and Walmart employees welcomed the public to the store. During the ceremony, Walmart presented approximately $8,000 in grants to local community groups, including the Turlock Education Foundation, Turlock Police Activities League, the City of Turlock Parks and Recreation Department, the Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus County, United Samaritans Foundation, and the Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene.
"Without the support of the community, none of this would be possible," said Lira. "We have put together the best team to serve you."
Filling approximately 95 full- and part-time jobs, the new Walmart Neighborhood Market team members have been training extensively in preparation for the big grand opening.
"We've been ready to exceed our customers expectations," said Lira.
Hundreds of customers poured into the 60,000 square-foot building, which had remained empty for years after former-tenant Mervyn's closed their doors.
"We are pleased to welcome Walmart's Neighborhood Market to Turlock," said Mike Lynch, Chair of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. "A once-empty retail store now employs approximately 95 people, providing greater services to our community."
Although the remodeling process of the building may have taken months to complete, customers were pleased with the wide aisles, layout and, aesthetics of the new store.
"It's really nice inside," said customer Michelle Zamora as she shopped with her two children. "My mother owns the beauty salon right next door, so we were excited when we heard Walmart would be opening a grocery store in the same shopping center. It's nice to have a store in this building instead of it being empty."
New Store, New Features
The new Walmart Neighborhood Market on Geer Road offers new features not offered at the Fulkerth Road location, such as a full line of groceries including: fresh produce, a self-serve bakery with freshly baked goods, a self-serve deli, prepared meal options, and a variety of organic and natural selections. The store also features a selection of gluten-free items, and four large aisles of alcoholic beverages including local wine company E & J Gallo Winery.
In addition, the store features health and beauty aids, pet and cleaning products, hardware and stationery, a pharmacy, digital photo-processing kiosks, and Walmart Site to Store which allows customers to pick up items purchased online at their local Walmart store.
"You can drop off a prescription, pick up some groceries and household items," said Lira. "In one stop, you can get all your shopping done."
A "Family Welcome" is planned for this Saturday to give customers the chance to meet Lira while enjoying fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating, and free food samples while supplies last. The celebration will be held from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Saturday.