Wal-Mart opens new store today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

Joe Massanelli, general manager for the new Wal-Mart Supercenter said he keeps a favorite saying by company founder Sam Walton in his office and that is &uot;Never get so set in your business that you can’t change.&uot;

Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. a changing of the guard did indeed take place as Massanelli and members of the Wal-Mart staff took down the U.S. flag at the Interstate Drive store.

On Wednesday morning, they will raise the flag at the new supercenter location on Willow Lane.

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&uot;It is bittersweet for us,&uot; he said Tuesday afternoon. &uot;But on the other hand, to see what we are going to provide for our customers with at the new store definitely outweighs it. I feel the growth we have here is good.&uot;

After years of planning, months of anticipation and public debate, Wal-Mart’s newest supercenter opens its new Greenville home today.

Massanelli said everything is ready for the big grand opening and that the store is top notch.

The ceremony begins at 7:40 a.m. He said the Greenville High School Tiger Pride Marching Band will provide music.

&uot;If we don’t start the ceremony until 8 a.m., our customers won’t get inside until 8:45 a.m. and I know they’ll be chomping at the bit to start shopping,&uot; he said laughing.

He said the biggest difference customers will see is the difference in size of the old store on Interstate Drive and the new one on Willow Lane.

&uot;We’ve gone from a 50,000 square feet store to 158,000 square feet,&uot; he said.

&uot;We have a full service grocery store, expanded deli and larger snack bar.&uot;

We’ve gone from 50,000 to 158,000 square feet.

Grocery, deli, and snack bar.

We’ve also increased our variety of items we had in the old store and we’ve also increased the number of bright smiling faces of those who work here.&uot;

Massanelli said approximately 1,500 people applied for the new 360 associate positions the store will employ.

Of that number, 60 percent are full-time positions.

&uot;We ran about 130 associates at the old store, so we have doubled our number and added some,&uot; he said.

Another big difference customers will note is that the new supercenter will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There will be 12 full-service checkout lanes, four express and four self-checkout stands for customers to use.

He said when the decision to place the new supercenter in town was being discussed; he was asked what areas in the store he’d like to expand.

With that, customers will see a larger electronic section, garden center and more sporting goods.

&uot;We consistently did above average in these departments and I believe the added inventory will only increase our ability to serve customers,&uot; he said.

He said many of the other Wal-Mart stores in the area have already expressed envy for this store because there are hard wood floors used throughout.

He added this is something new, plus a new color scheme, the company is trying in its newer stores

As for the program this morning, the mayor and company officials will speak and the employees will sing the national anthem.

After that, Massanelli will present $23,064 to various charitable organizations.

&uot;We are going to begin at the new store by immediately giving back to the community,&uot; he said.