About 200 people showed up bright and early Wednesday morning for the opening of Walmart Neighborhood Market in Tyler.
“Let’s get this party started,” Store Manager David Price told the crowd during a ribbon cutting ceremony. “We’ve got some people here ready to shop.”
He said the long-awaited Walmart Neighborhood Market was a longtime coming but is now here.
“It’s great to see you here bright and early,” Mayor Barbara Bass said. “One thing that gets a mayor excited is good paying jobs in Tyler, Texas,” she said.
Walmart has been a community partner for many years and will continue to be a strong member of the community, she added.
About 95 people are employed at the new grocery store. Price said 50 of those associates were hired through Walmart’s program to hire military veterans.
About one-third smaller than the three Walmart Supercenters in Tyler, the market opened at 8 a.m. at 1900 ESE Loop 323, in the building that formerly housed Albertson’s. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Price thanked his “big brothers,” the three Walmart Supercenters in Tyler, which transferred some of their associates to the market to help train its staff.
“Todd Manley, vice president/regional manager, said he was proud of the team who worked hard for the last few months to get the store ready to open.
“Our mission at Walmart is to save people money so they can live better…,” Price said.
Price estimated about 200 people attended the ceremony.
“Let’s show them how we rock the Walmart cheer!” Price yelled as associates gathered around and yelled out a cheer before cutting the ribbon.
The grand opening celebration included presentations of grants from Walmart to local community groups.
Price presented $1,500 checks to Susan G. Komen and The Salvation Army and $1,000 checks to The Literacy Council of Tyler and Junior Achievement.
In addition to the grants, the new store will further Walmart’s pledge to fight hunger in America. As part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fight hunger through 2015, Walmart stores in Texas donated about 43.7 million pounds of food, or the equivalent of 36.4 million meals, in fiscal year 2013. They gave more than $86.2 million in 2013 in Texas alone, representatives said.
The Walmart Neighborhood Market format offers quick and convenient shopping, with a full-grocery department, featuring prepared food options, fresh baked breads, gluten-free options, deli and a bakery. It also has a pharmacy.
The first Walmart Neighborhood Market opened in 1998, and today there are about 300 stores nationwide.
On Saturday, the store will host “A Big Family Welcome” event to give customers a chance to meet Price and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating, an Elvis impersonator and free food samples.
Walmart invites Tyler shoppers to share their in-store experience on Facebook and Twitter by using #MyNewWalmart. Visit the My Local Walmart Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/walmart4193 . Fans of the local page can receive information about rollbacks, in-store events, meal solutions and more.