Out with the old; in with the new

Published 8:23 am Monday, October 21, 2013

The new Walmart Super Center, located on US 13 just south of the current store, is scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

The new Walmart Super Center, located on US 13 just south of the current store, is scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

AHOSKIE – Despite a successful 20-year run, to include earning the national title of Small Format Store of the Year for 2012, Walmart is closing its store located in the Ahoskie Commons Shopping Center.

But there’s no need for local shoppers to panic. Walmart is opening a brand new SuperCenter next week just a short distance from the current location.

After a brief ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, Walmart will officially open at 2150 Highway 13 South. Beginning Thursday (Oct. 24), the new store will operate from 7 a.m. until 12 midnight, seven days a week.

“We are so excited to bring this newly relocated store to Ahoskie,” said store manager Nnea Rapu. “We think customers will be pleased with the variety of goods we have to offer, as well as savings on our full line of groceries and merchandise. We look forward to the community joining us at the grand-opening celebration Wednesday, Oct. 23.”

For those who normally shop at the current Ahoskie Walmart, Rapu said that store will remain open through Tuesday (Oct. 22).

“It’s a challenge right now keeping one store open and working to open the new store,” Rapu said. “It will be business as usual at our current location until closing on Tuesday night. I have a great group of zone managers and associates who have been working both stores. What’s so great about this is the two stores are only a quarter-mile apart.”

Once the current location closes, the inventory there will be merged with the items being stocked now at the new location. Rapu said she has 30 days to completely clean out the old store.

The current store covers 75,000 square feet. The new store encompasses 120,000 square feet, to include a full line of groceries – traditional favorites plus organic and natural selections

“We’ve got about five counters of groceries at the current store; over there you’ll see 14 counters, in addition to a produce department, bakery, deli, a whole wall for dairy (products), another wall for luncheon meats, a meat department, and three counters for frozen goods,” Rapu said. “We will be your true, one-stop shop.”

The new store will feature an electronics department three times the size of the current one. That part of the store will also include a digital-photo processing center.

“The SuperCenter concept means a larger inventory and a bigger variety of brands to choose from,” Rapu said. “Plus, the new location gives us room to expand in the future.”

The new store also brings more jobs. Rapu said the current store employs 130 associates. The new store will increase that to 236 employees, working in shifts.

“What we’re really excited about is not only are we growing employment wise, but the opening of a SuperCenter will hopefully attract new businesses here and they will hire locally, thus helping Ahoskie grow,” Rapu stated.

In addition to the larger selection of general merchandise and a supermarket, the new Ahoskie Walmart will include a pharmacy, offering a full range of products and services. The pharmacy also offers a convenient drive-thru.

There is also a Subway sandwich shop located just inside the main entrance. A spokesperson for the existing Subway in the Ahoskie Commons Shopping Center said that location will remain open.

Shoppers at the new Ahoskie Super Center will find quality, value-priced general merchandise, including apparel, electronics, toys, sporting goods, automotive products, home furnishings, fabric (with a cutting table), hardware, paint, and pet supplies. There is also a lawn and garden center.

There is an expanded number of check-out counters at the new store, including self-service.

As part of their grand opening, the Ahoskie Walmart will host a Big Family Welcome from 12 noon until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. That event will give customers a chance to meet Rapu and enjoy fun family activities such as face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples while supplies last.

Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit more than 10,800 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2013 sales of approximately $466 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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