© Scott Anderson
Long-time Walmart employee Sharron Stolz cut the ribbon to formally unveil the Walmart Supercentre in Swift Current during a grand re-opening ceremony on May 24.
A fresh look, highlighted by the unveiling of a fresh grocery section, is now offered to shoppers at the newly completed Walmart Supercentre in Swift Current.
A grand re-opening ceremony was hosted last Friday to cut the ribbon to formally unveil the renovation project which began in early January. Swift Current's change into a Supercentre was one of 37 Supercentre projects planned by Walmart this fiscal year, with the company planning to build new stores, expand, remodel or relocate some existing stores.
The May 24 ribbon cutting also showcased an updated store design, better defined merchandise areas, and launched their offering of a full line of groceries including bakery goods, deli, meat and dairy products, plus fresh produce.
"Just from some of the feedback that we got back from the customers and through some surveys that we sent out, they really wanted us to expand more into the fresh side," explained Swift Current Walmart store manager Patrick Headrick.
Their biggest change is evident by walking into their store, with the newly installed fresh produce section.
"It's the first thing you notice when you walk in. That's the whole image of the fresh face to the store and our Supercentre," Headrick said.
"Store Planning did a good job on the layout. Our square footage hasn't changed, but the store looks brighter and feels bigger just from where they positioned things and opened the store up."
He noted that staff have felt the excitement of the project since it was first announced back in January. The "home team" was assisted by a group of 35 associates and managers from Walmart locations in Regina, Moose Jaw and Estevan to assist in their transition.
"All in all, with the planning and the teams in place, it was pretty smooth," he said.
One of the biggest change was a major renovation behind the scenes, as they had to install a whole new cooler system in order to accommodate their expansion into fresh produce and meat. This required them to reconfigure their storage space and it resulted in a change to their office space.
With all their transition work behind them, Friday was a feel-good day for the staff.
"It represents six months of hard work so they were proud coming in this morning."
Swift Current's Walmart Supercentre now employs 130 associated, with 36 new jobs created during the conversion.
Trika Macdonald, Director of HR Western Canada, said the renovated location also brings a series of employment opportunities.
"Now that we have this whole new offering, we've got a myriad of positions and career opportunities for people going forward," she said following the ribbon cutting.
"If people are interested in coming to work for us, we have this brand new face, a huge opportunity for training and development, and we'd love to have some more of the local community coming to work in our store."
"There's a huge opportunity for people here to have a lengthy, wholesome career with the company. There's a lot of opportunities within Wal Mart... and I think this hopefully will help people look at us a little differently and see that there are different opportunities."
As part of the grand re-opening, the Walmart social committee made a quartet of donations, presenting $1,000 cheques to the City of Swift Current Parks Play Program, Southwest Crisis Services and the Salvation Army. They also made a $2,000 donation in support of the student led Five Days for Change initiative supporting the Southwest Street Culture Housing Committee's efforts to help build an eight bed youth shelter in Swift Current.