New manager is ‘almost home’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 2004

AHOSKIE – When looking for a new store manager for their Ahoskie location, Wal-Mart officials apparently wanted a seasoned veteran.

They got their wish in a 33-year-old, a man that, despite his young age, has literally seen the world.

Chris Edwards took over the managerial duties of the Ahoskie Wal-Mart on Dec. 13. The New Bern native has been with the company for seven years, starting as a &uot;cart-pusher&uot; in his hometown.

&uot;I’m happy to be here in Ahoskie, back in a small-town, rural type of eastern North Carolina environment,&uot; said Edwards. &uot;I really like the town and the surrounding communities. The people here have been very nice and very receptive.&uot;

After his first Wal-Mart experience in New Bern, Edwards left the company and joined the U.S. Army. He proudly served his country for eight years as a member of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. One of the stops along his military career was a three-year stay in Germany.

&uot;I always like to tell my wife that by marrying me, we’ve seen the world together,&uot; noted Edwards who has been married to Denese for 11 years.

Following his military service, Edwards rejoined Wal-Mart as an assistant manager for three years at one of its Raleigh locations. He then moved to Winston-Salem, serving a one-year stint as co-manager. From there it was off to Mt. Airy where that Wal-Mart location employed his services, again as a co-manager.

&uot;Even though the Wal-Mart store was larger in Mt. Airy, I feel the small town, rural environment there will help me here in Ahoskie,&uot; stressed Edwards.

Less than two weeks into his new assignment, Edwards said he has already developed a list of three goals that need to be immediately addressed – (1) improve customer service; (2) better organization and planning; and (3) developing trust on two fronts, employee-to-employee and the level of confidence the customers have in their local Wal-Mart.

&uot;I promise you that we will work hard to reach these goals,&uot; he said. &uot;When, not if, we have accomplished those goals, everything else will have already worked itself out.&uot;

Edwards continued, &uot;You will see some substantial changes here in a very short period of time. The people here will like their new Wal-Mart.&uot;

In the meantime, Edwards is putting the finishing touches on purchasing a home. He said he misses his wife and two children, son Michael (age 9) and daughter Nicole (age 7).

&uot;Being close to home is nice,&uot; he concluded. &uot;I still have family in the New Bern and Havelock areas and my wife is originally from Chocowinity.&uot;

Chris Edwards has indeed traveled the globe, but his &uot;world&uot; now revolves around the Ahoskie Wal-Mart, a store he and his employees will strive to take to the top of the company charts.