Wal-Mart renovations: Retailer working on changes to interior, exterior

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Wal-Mart Supercenter manager Victor Morrow hopes their multi-million dollar renovation is enough evidence they’re not closing or moving.

A complete overhaul is underway at the Highland Avenue location. Once it is complete, the interior and exterior of the giant retailer will even have another color scheme.

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“The exterior will be beige,” Morrow said Thursday, going between construction meetings and promotional planning. “The store hasn’t been renovated in six years. With all the traffic we have, it’s due an overhaul.”

Morrow said the new floor plan and dcor will be more customer friendly and will compartmentalize everything – placing all household goods together. The grocery section will remain about the same.

“Our biggest theft area has been in electronics. We’re adding six employees to electronics and we’re moving it to the back of the store. This way, when a truck comes in we can take the inventory right to that department instead of all through the store,” Morrow said. “We’re moving McDonald’s to the front of the store, and reducing the size of the bakery.”

The store also employs eight Selma Police officers, who work off-duty hours in plain clothes as security. They’re on the Wal-Mart payroll, Morrow said. The new renovation also calls for an improved video surveillance system.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. was delighted to hear of the expansion, which added 70 temporary jobs to the 365 part time and fulltime associates.

“It’s huge,” Perkins said of the Supercenter renovation. “Wal-Mart is the largest retail tax payer in our community.”

Wal-Mart is also one of the largest employers in the city, along with providing the most retail sales tax of any single business to city coffers. Morrow said it has been in the neighborhood of $500,000 a year.

Associates were busy Thursday breaking down displays and reducing prices in sporting goods. A floor plan showing the new design is posted in the rear of the store where associates refer to when setting up new counters and displays. It offers a sneak preview of the new look.

Morrow said customers expressed concern when they saw the bakery area boarded up. Some thought they were closing the bakery.

“We’ve got the best bakery in town,” Morrow said. “The texture and taste of our cakes are consistently the best around. We’re just reducing the size of the bakery.”

Wal-Mart’s more than just cakes and donuts, and a 24-hour shopping center. Business is good.

“We do a lot of sales volume,” he said. “They will never close this store due to the amount of volume, and our profitability.”

The renovation will be completed by June 29, when Morrow said they have a grand opening set.