"When we open, we'll have a lot of festivities and special offers," said Alton Wheeler, Pleasanton store manager. "We want to have everything in place when we're ready to go."
In a walk-through of the new market Monday, it was clear much still needs to be done. Although the general merchandising section on the right side of the store seems complete, with shelves carefully stocked with health and beauty products, paper towels and much more, cooling units and bins on the left side where frozen goods, produce and refrigerated packaged goods will be sold still stood empty. Vendors will bring those in when Wheeler gives word it's time to open.
Walmart has revamped the Nob Hill store with wider aisles, new entry and exit doors, high white-painted ceilings with brilliant lighting and all new cooling units, a fresh meat section and a pharmacy. Check-out stands line the front of the store with some set up for self-checkout and computer stations that keep track of inventory as well as customer suggestions.
"We want to listen to our customers and have them tell us what they're looking for and what they need," Wheeler said. "Every Walmart market has the ability to tailor its merchandise and service to meet what customers want."
That includes a coffee bar, which Wheeler's store doesn't have. If enough shoppers and commuters stopping at the store on their way to work want coffee and a donut, Wheeler said he'll put the service in.
Wheeler has hired 85 employees (called associates at Walmart) and most of them are now back in Pleasanton after weeks of training at other Walmart Neighborhood Markets. Monday, some were busy price-coding incoming jars of baby food and canned foods in a maze of boxes vendors were delivering as others took those products to display shelves.
Overhead, construction crews were installing and adjusting ceiling lights and crossbars for holding information signs. Fortunately for them, with the temperature outside reading 102 degrees, all the outside work is completed except for putting the name on the front of the store.
The 33,000-square-foot store is located in the Meadow Plaza shopping center south of West Las Positas Boulevard. Raley's, which owns Nob Hill, closed the store three years ago, and merchants in Meadow Plaza and the adjoining Santa Rita Square Center have been waiting anxiously for a new large anchor grocer to move in to help revitalize their businesses.
Wheeler said they'll be among the first guests invited to his opening day party. Other than saying it will be on a Wednesday and in July, he's yet to name the date.
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