From Part-Time to a World of Possibilities

When I was 18, I took a temporary job at Walmart for extra cash. Eleven years later, I’ve gained so much more: a challenging, satisfying career.

I had no idea that my time making cakes in a supercenter bakery would set me up for the chance to be store manager. But my seemingly small choice indeed led to something bigger, and I love to tell people about the opportunity and personal growth I’ve experienced.

After six months in the bakery I was given the option to move to the wireless department, where I showed enough initiative to be named department manager. My co-manager at the time encouraged me to apply for the company’s manager in training program. I was accepted, and I believe the trajectory of my life changed from there.

I went from being a quiet, insecure college student who was uncertain about what she wanted to a confident, well-spoken woman who now leaves a lasting impression on her co-workers and family. Right after the manager in training program, I visited my aunt and uncle, who told me I wowed them by being completely different – way more talkative and extroverted than ever.

Today, I use my newfound outgoing spirit to not only run my Neighborhood Market, but also to tell my associates about the path of potential I found. I love encouraging others and watching them blossom. For example, I can recall one of my associates who started out seeming unsure of himself, but after a few years and making connections with others in the store, he’s now a department manager. I can see his future: buying a home, sending his kids to college. Watching all this happen is like magic to me.

I want all my associates to understand the opportunities they have with this company. I didn’t know it on the first day, but as a store manager, it’s my job to ensure that as many associates as possible can see it – and seize it – from the start.



Expanding Your Marketplace of Products on Walmart.com

The internet changed how we shop. It brought the store to our screens. More and more, when it comes to finding the exact product that we want at the best possible price, we search and buy online.

When you visit Walmart.com, my team and I work hard to make sure you can find what you need, every single day. One way we do that is through our Marketplace sellers.

What is Marketplace? I like to explain it like this: Imagine you’re in a shopping mall, and instead of visiting lots of different stores to find what you want, everything you’re looking for is in one store. What’s more, you’ve got a personal shopper helping sort through all the options, morphing the shelves as your preferences change, to find your perfect item at the perfect price.

That’s what’s happening behind the scenes when you visit Walmart.com. When you search for an item, not only do you see options from Walmart.com’s own inventory – your search likely brings up choices from third-party sellers, too. These are third-party sellers that we’ve chosen to work with because they offer a great selection of products at a great price.

Marketplace makes it easier for customers to find a wider range of the items we sell in stores, plus some other brands you might not find at a store, like Toms and Vans shoes.

Since this time last year, we’ve grown the number of Marketplace sellers by more than 30 times. This has helped us triple our assortment on Walmart.com since last year, with more than 20 million items today, and growing.

One of our highest priorities in developing the Marketplace is ensuring the quality of our overall customer experience. We reach out to customers to learn about their experiences, and we’re proactive about checking data to see where we can help Marketplace sellers improve their performance to go above and beyond.

We’ll continue to focus on our Marketplace sellers as they help us help you find exactly what you need. This is just one way Walmart.com is working to make your online shopping experience better across the board.

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Walmart Driver Delivers a Win at National Championships

He practices nearly every day, honing his skills and aiming to be the best in his field. He’s won numerous competitions, most recently being crowned a national grand champion.

But he’s not an athlete; he’s a truck driver. And the National Truck Driving Championships are his big bowl game.

Mike White of Nineveh, Indiana, has been driving professionally for 39 years, the last 26 of those for Walmart’s private fleet. On Aug. 13, after four days of hard-driving competition in Indianapolis, he was recognized as the most skilled and most knowledgeable in the country.

The 79th annual competition, hosted by the American Trucking Associations, was a nail-biter until the very end. “When my name was called out, it floored me. I didn’t think I was even going to make the top five,” let alone be named the champion, Mike said.

Competitors are made up of the winners in eight classes of competition from 50 state trucking associations’ Truck Driving Championships. Each driver must undergo a written examination, personal interview, pre-trip inspection test and a skills test.

Mike credits his exam and pre-trip scores with getting him into the top five and landing him the 3-axle class title. His run on the skills course put him over the top, securing his bid for overall grand champion.

It’s a game of inches. Mike faced 15 challenges, like maneuvering his big rig within 18 inches of a barrier and rolling between two tightly spaced rows of tennis balls attached to wood stands – bump any of them and lose points, and possibly the title. There was also a “road kill” challenge where drivers had to get the right front tire as close as possible to, but not touching, a rubber duck sitting in the roadway.

“It was such a surprise – that was the best part,” Mike said of his big win. “This wasn’t just for my home state of Indiana; it was for me, my family and Walmart.”

It’s also a nod to Mike’s commitment to safe driving. Drivers must be accident free for at least a year prior to the competition. Considering that Mike has been to nationals six times, it’s clear that safety on the road is his priority.

Despite having about 36 competitions under his belt and now the ultimate award, Mike isn’t ready to quit. He’s looking forward to defending his titles in 2017.

That attitude doesn’t surprise Jennifer Gray, regional safety manager for Walmart, who witnessed Mike’s winning moment. “Mike is the true face of our professional Walmart driver, and I have been blessed to be able to work with him for the past four years,” she said after the competition. “He has always had his eye on that prize of being a grand champion one day.”

Geno Bell, senior director of transportation for Walmart, seconded that.

“I’ve known Mike White for over 10 years. He’s a true professional, mentor and a great ambassador of the culture for our private fleet,” Geno said. “Mike practiced and studied hard for the ATA competition, and to see him win it all was AMAZING!”

Mike has earned more than just praise from his leadership – he’s also getting a new semi in the color of his choice.

“Walmart is so proud of their drivers who achieve awards for their expertise in safe driving,” Jennifer explained. “We have a wonderful program to recognize these associates and to also allow the motoring public to recognize when they are sharing the road with one of our safe driving champions.”

It takes time and expertise to earn a personalized truck. The honor is reserved for associates who achieve 3 million and 4 million Walmart safe driving miles, as well as those who are named ATA grand champion or ATA Driver of the Year.

In the meantime, like a seasoned athlete, Mike is back in training mode preparing for the next round of competitions.

“I have a big hill to climb and a lot of people after me,” he said.

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The Pumpkin Spy: Your Handpicked Guide to a Seasonal Favorite

When I was a kid, pumpkins were for carving, baking into pies, or … well, that’s about it. Now, there are hundreds of pumpkin-flavored foods and pumpkin-scented products on the market.

According to Nielsen data, last year, 37% of U.S. consumers purchased a pumpkin-flavored product, and sales from pumpkin-flavored products grew 79% between 2011 and 2015. Luckily, I have combed through the shelves to find the latest and greatest #pumpkinspice products available at your local Walmart.

From breakfast foods to home goods, there is enough to keep your pantry stocked at least until you are ready to move on peppermint in December. Obviously, there are a lot of coffee-related products, but even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, there is a pumpkin spice product for you.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
Take one of America’s most popular cereals and combine it with the fairy tale magic of pumpkin spice. My only question: What took you guys so long?

Quaker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal will make an excellent comfort food on a chilly autumn morning, while you’re snuggled in a big comfy chair, trying to remember why you got out of bed in the first place.

Fresh-Fall Pumpkin Febreze Air Effects
To get insight into the proliferation of pumpkin items beyond food, I spoke to Tifanie Van Laar-Wagner, Walmart’s senior buyer for air care products. “Customers see pumpkin as a signal to the beginning of family gatherings and celebrations of the season,” she said.

Lindt Lindor Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Milk chocolate + pumpkin spice = <3

Thomas Pumpkin Spice English Muffins
Just add a bit of butter and honey, and you’ve made your regular breakfast feel indulgent and – dare I say – hip!

Little Debbie Pumpkin Spice Rolls
You know that great pumpkin bread that someone in your office makes around the holidays? It’s like that, only smaller.

Predictions for fall 2017: pumpkin spice deodorant, pumpkin spice popsicles, and pumpkin spice oil changes at our Auto Care Center (just kidding). As you can see, when it comes to pumpkin spice, there’s a proliferation of possibilities.

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Meet Your Holiday Helpers for a Fast, Friendly Checkout

As the holidays grow nearer, our shopping lists begin to lengthen.

Among the party essentials, children’s wishes and groceries, there’s one precious item many of us find ourselves wanting at the same time: a few extra moments in our schedules.

While the gift of time isn’t something that can be plucked off the shelves, there’s one way we’re working to ensure you can find it this year at Walmart. It’s introducing our Holiday Helpers, who will be helping to grant you a few extra minutes all season.

Decked out in bright yellow vests, jingling hats and a colorful satchel full of goodies, our Holiday Helpers will be stationed near the registers to provide an extra fast, friendly checkout experience. When lines are looking long, a Helper will open a new line to serve customers and help get everyone out the door in a snap.

Even better: If you’re in line, and you happen to remember a last-minute item you forgot, like milk, they’ll go and pick it up for you.

The idea to introduce Holiday Helpers came from customer feedback and Walmart’s store associates paying close attention to shoppers’ habits. As more customers shop during peak hours, Holiday Helpers step in with a smile to enhance the checkout experience, helping ensure that everyone can pay and be on their way quickly.

Customers will start seeing Holiday Helpers in stores beginning Nov. 4, and a new 30-second commercial that’s set to air in the coming days will offer a taste of what’s to come.

It’s our hope that these new helpers will become busy customers’ heroes when it comes to squeezing a little extra time out of a packed schedule this season.

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