Larger store offers full line of groceries, adds 130 jobs
FOREST LAKE, Minn., Aug. 12, 2010 – The newly expanded Walmart in Forest Lake celebrates its grand opening this week, giving local shoppers a glimpse of the company’s next generation of store design and customer experience while adding 130 new jobs. The store has added a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of new products and services. Originally opened in 1995, the store is located at 200 12th St. SW, with easy access from Interstate 35 and West Broadway Avenue. Associates will unveil the results of the expansion to customers Wednesday, Aug. 18, after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.
“We have a loyal customer base, and some have been shopping here since our original opening 15 years ago,” said store manager Duane Nelson. “We think they’ll love the new, easy-to-shop layout of the store and appreciate the savings we offer on the products they need.”
Local leaders are excited about the store’s expansion. Mayor Stev Stegner said, “Forest Lake is a growing community, and it needs companies like Walmart who bring jobs and help create a regional shopping area in our community. By drawing in customers from other communities, it helps support sales in our other local businesses and creates more jobs. Walmart has always been a good neighbor in our community by supporting our local non-profit organizations.”
Expanded Walmart Adds 130 New Jobs
The store plans to employ approximately 430 associates, including approximately 130 positions created by the expansion. Approximately 85 associates have worked for Walmart for longer than 10 years, including 25 who have worked at the Forest Lake store since it opened in 1995.
“Joining Walmart was a great career decision for me, as it has been for so many of my fellow associates,” Nelson said. “I am proud to work for this company where there are unlimited opportunities and to bring those opportunities to our community and neighbors.”
New Layout Improves Customer Experience
In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements have all come together in the company’s newest stores, such as the Forest Lake Walmart, with fast service, a friendly shopping experience and clean stores. The expanded store features a more open shopping environment with wider aisles and a new layout with time and money saving features.
The 183,275-square-foot Forest Lake Walmart now features a refreshed, earth-toned façade complete with a new logo. Among the exterior improvements, the parking lot has been freshly paved, and landscaping has been added. Inside, customers will notice a bright interior color palette that creates an inviting shopping experience and helps define the store’s merchandise areas. Lower shelving creates an improved sightline and directional signage on every aisle helps customers find everyday necessities more quickly.
“The layout of the store is easy to navigate, which will save customers time as they shop for everyday necessities at our unbeatable prices,” said Nelson. “By grouping the products that our customers most often purchase we are making one-stop shopping even easier.”
The Forest Lake Walmart added 54,000 square feet to offer customers a full line of groceries, including fresh produce, frozen foods, meat and dairy products and a selection of organic items. For busy people on-the-go, the deli offers hot rotisserie chicken, fried chicken and a wide variety of meats, cheeses and freshly prepared foods. Customers can pick up cakes, freshly made pastries and breads in the bakery.
Among the changes, Walmart has combined the Site-to-Store pick-up location and photo processing center into a single area near the front of the store. Customers now have ready access to these services as well as associates who can provide assistance as needed.
During the expansion, Walmart completely renovated the pharmacy with an open design, creating a much friendlier, accessible experience. The pharmacy, health and beauty items, and cosmetics are conveniently located across from groceries. Walmart also enhanced the Connect Center and its selection of cellular phones and calling plans, located in the expanded electronics department. A Subway restaurant offers additional one-stop convenience to shoppers.
A new department called Celebration Station has been added and will feature party supplies, greeting cards, balloons and helium tanks, cake supplies and gift wrap.
Store Design Incorporates Environmentally Friendly Features
The Forest Lake store, like all new Walmart stores, includes energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. LED lighting throughout the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms.
Community Invited to Ribbon-Cutting Celebration, 7:30 a.m., Aug. 18
Community and business leaders will join Walmart associates at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tina Witzel and Maddison Zenberg, students from Southwest Junior High School of Forest Lake, will perform the national anthem, under the direction of music teacher Kelly Larson. Mayor Stegner and other community representatives from the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce are scheduled to attend. Additional grand opening activities planned throughout the day include product samples, giveaways and character appearances.
As part of the festivities, associates will present grants totaling $8,500. Recipients include Community Helping Hand, Family Pathways, Forest Lake Children’s Fund, Forest Lake Fire Department, Forest Lake Police Department and the Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau.
“Last year alone, we presented local organizations with $33,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation. In addition, we’ve supported these agencies and other community charitable efforts for years by hosting fundraisers, providing volunteers and giving in-kind merchandise donations,” said Nelson. “We think of them as our partners and consider it a privilege to support the good work they do.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $2 billion to U.S. hunger relief efforts through 2015. The Fighting Hunger Together campaign will also engage Walmart customers and associates in the fight against hunger. More information can be found at walmart.com/fightinghunger.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or “Walmart,” serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.0 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
Forest Lake Walmart
- Location: 200 12th St. SW, Forest Lake, Minn.
- 183,275-square-foot Walmart, gaining an additional 54,000 square feet
- A ribbon-cutting and grant presentation ceremony will be held at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 18
- Store manager: Duane Nelson
- Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Full line of groceries including a bakery, a deli serving fresh food and meal solutions for moms, meat and dairy products and fresh produce.
- More than 30 merchandise departments such as apparel and accessories, lawn and garden center, health and beauty aids and an expanded electronics department.
- Convenience services include a pharmacy, digital photo processing center and Walmart Connect Center.
- Leased areas and services include a Subway restaurant.
- Store plans to employ approximately 430 associates, including approximately 130 positions added by the expansion.
- Approximately 85 associates have worked for Walmart for longer than 10 years.
- Twenty-five associates have worked at the store since it opened in 1995.
- The average wage at Walmart for full-time hourly associates in Minnesota is approximately $12.05 per hour*
- Walmart benefits – available to eligible full- and part-time associates – include health insurance with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers a 401(k) plan and profit sharing contributions, whether an associate contributes or not, store discount cards, company performance-based bonuses, stock purchase program and life insurance
* Average wage taken July 2010. See www.walmartstores.com for details.
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