About 200 people showed up bright and early Wednesday for the opening of 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 Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market was a long time 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.”
Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart’s program to hire military veterans.
About one-third smaller than the three Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart’s pledge to fight hunger in America. As part of Wal-Mart’s and the Wal-Mart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment to fight hunger through 2015, Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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 Wal-Mart 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.
Wal-Mart invites Tyler shoppers to share their in-store experience on Facebook and Twitter by using #MyNewWalmart. Visit the My Local Walmart Facebook page at www.facebook.com/walmart4193 . Fans of the local page can receive information about rollbacks, in-store events, meal solutions and more.