"Supercenter’ opens today | VailDaily.com

"Supercenter’ opens today

Christine Ina Casillas

Workers at Avon’s new Wal-Mart Supercenter have strived for more than a month to prepare the perfect display, hang the right lighting and the signs and set up the checkout stands, clothes and food throughout the store.

“Ready to roll, man?” said Jeff Crump, store manager, to one of his employees as he strolled through the center Tuesday.

Nervousness was on high Tuesday, a day before the big-box store’s grand opening, which begins at 7:30 a.m. today at the Village at Avon, 171 Yoder Avenue.

The supercenter will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, and feature eight self-checkout lanes.

Busy, busy, busy

Avon and Eagle County residents alike might be saying “out with the old and in with the new” now that the former Wal-Mart store is nearly empty and the new “Supercenter” has opened.

“We’re busy,” said Ada Ewing, who has worked for Wal-Mart for about 15 years. “I think it’s going to be busy for a long time. We’re so busy now, and we haven’t even opened yet.”

But the store will continue to promote its “always-low prices” theme, said Jeff Crump, store manager.

“I’m really proud of this,” said Della Vasquez, the store’s new personnel manager, who worked for the former store at Chapel Square for 15 years. “It reminds me of when I started, when I came into an empty building, putting up shelves. This … it’s so amazing.”

Directional system

Shoppers who stop by for the grand opening and stick around to spend time inside the 187,000-square-foot store will be greeted by not only the new store’s staff, but they will be able to locate items, goods and merchandise by using the store’s new directional system.

“You’ll know exactly where to go for everything throughout the store,” Crump said. “We have a whole different look for Wal-Mart. We’ve worked hard on selecting the right features.”

The signing has specific categories with each aisle, he said.

The variety and selection of the store is vast, Crump said. The grocery store alone has a specific manager with a grocery background.

“It’s set up just like a supermarket, with household goods stacked together and a beverage center,” Crump said.

A number of specialty shops will be housed in the supercenter, including a tire and express-lube shop, a hair salon, a fast-food restaurant and a vision center.

“We’re 50 percent lower than the lowest price in the valley,” said Brian Tadlock, district manager for the Vision Center.

TV network

Another feature the store has implemented is a Wal-Mart TV network throughout the entire store, Crump said. One of its features displays missing children on the screen. If a child gets lost or is reported missing in the store, the screen will show that the child is missing or lost and the employees can better locate the child, hitting the exit doors and searching the store.

Also new to Wal-Mart Supercenters around the country is an online connection from the checkout stands to the fast-food restaurant.

“People really can take ownership of this store,” he said. “It’s Avon’s store. It’s their store.”

The remodel of the old Wal-Mart site, which is practically empty now with only 30 days left to clean out the store officially, can start remodeling within those 30 days for the new site, adding 12,000 square feet of space for three national stores – Gart Sports, Pier 1 Imports and Office Depot.

“We’ve been trying to run two stores at the same time for about four weeks now,” Ewing said. “It’s been crazy, but we need it for the community, because it’s grown so fast.”

Grand opening celebration

The grand opening of Avon’s Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Village at Avon will feature the presentation of colors by Avon’s Veterans of Foreign War post. Wal-Mart associate Geri Romero will sing the national anthem and the Battle Mountain High School cheerleaders will lead the charge before the official ribbon-cutting at 8 a.m.

During the grand opening Wednesday, Wal-Mart associates are expected to contribute more than $5,000 to area nonprofit organizations through Wal-Mart’s Good Works community involvement program, said the store’s manager, Jeff Crump. A partial listing of organizations in the Avon area receiving grand-opening contributions include:

– Children’s Hospital Foundation

– United Way of Eagle River Valley, Inc.

– Cancer Recovery Foundation of America

– Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado, Inc.

– Literacy Project

– Veterans of Foreign Wars

Last year, Wal-Mart contributed $3.1 million to Colorado community organizations.

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

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