New Walmart opens doors

EASLEY — If traffic and hundreds of parked cars are any indication, the long awaited anticipation of opening day at Easley’s new Walmart was as exciting as Pickens County residents expected.

Easley mayor Larry Bagwell and Easley Chamber of Commerce president Kent Dykes were among those present at the April 13 grand opening celebration, which began at 7:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Our city has been eagerly awaiting the opening of our ‘new look’ Walmart here in Easley, especially with the addition of 200 new jobs and the services it will provide,” Bagwell said.

“Walmart has been a vital part of our economy since 1981,” Bagwell added. “With its friendly people and atmosphere, Walmart has helped make the city of Easley a great place to live. We look forward to our continued relationship at their new location.”

Members of the Marine Corp League participated in the grand opening by raising the American Flag, and children from Liberty Elementary led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

“It is neat to watch a new Walmart open,” said Michael Malpas, a Customer Service Supervisor from the Walmart in Taylors. “Associates from stores all over South Carolina are here to make sure that, even though opening day is chaotic and hectic, it runs smoothly.”

“Neat” seems understated when describing the new Super Walmart in Easley’s Town Center shopping complex, which is housed on the site of the former Saco-Lowell plant. With shopping square footage two to three times the size of the old Easley Walmart, greeters were on hand to deliver both a smile and a map of the store’s layout.

In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements have all come together in the company’s newest stores, such as the Easley Walmart, with fast service, a friendly shopping experience and clean stores.

The new Walmart features enhanced service and a layout designed to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. Walmart aligned the departments that customers shop most frequently. The pharmacy, for example, is adjacent to food, making it easier for customers to pick up their prescriptions while shopping for their groceries.

“The layout of the store is easy to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for everyday necessities,” said store manager Lee Jolly. “By grouping the products that our customers most often purchase, including health and beauty and pet supplies, we are making one-stop shopping even easier.”

“The city of Easley is very excited with the opening of the Easley Town Center,” Easley city administrator Fox Simons said. “The center is a great addition for the city, and we feel this is the beginning of further economic development opportunities.”

Approximately 200 new jobs were created as a result of the relocation. Nearly 70 of the store’s associates have worked for Walmart for more than 10 years, and 14 associates have worked for Walmart for more than 20 years. Four associates have worked at the Easley store since its original opening in 1981.
According to the Walmart corporate website, as of February 2011, the total number of Walmart associates in South Carolina is 27,659. The average wage for regular, full-time hourly associates in South Carolina is $12.73 per hour, and eligible associates receive an additional annual incentive based on the company performance. /

The potential impact this store will have in relationship to economic development in Easley and Pickens County is tremendous. Shoppers will appreciate bright interior colors, lower shelving that creates an improved sightline and directional signage on every aisle to help customers find what they are looking for quickly.
While the new Walmart is expected to positively impact area economic development, according to the corporation, it is doing so while reducing impact to the environment.

The Easley Walmart, like all new Walmart stores, includes energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The store’s skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floor’s finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms. The new store also operates a recycling program that includes organic composting and will promote sustainable product purchases.

Economic development, environmentally friendly and a more efficient shopping experience for customers — it would seem the Easley Walmart is already having a positive impact in Pickens County.