Walmart prepping for May opening

For months folks have been looking forward to the opening of a new Super Walmart store on SR 80, just west of LaBelle. Some are pleased, some concerned, but on May 11 the store will celebrate with a day-long Grand Opening with vendors and music.

Store Manager Elias Maldonado and his team have been accepting employment applications for weeks. New employees can expect to be notified in about a week. Their first day is to be April 11, to prepare the store for opening on May 11.

The super store, open 24/7, will employ 200 workers in all departments, including eight assistant managers, sales reps and cashiers.

Elias said that the most important thing he looks for in an employee is that they are approachable, they know how to communicate, care for customers and are down to earth.

“Our culture is about family, friends and community,” he said. “It’s a great place to build a career!”

Starting out in Tennessee, Elias said he’s been working for Walmart for 21 years. Explaining that Walmart is a place with opportunities, he said, “I’m still training. There’s always something new learn, 24 hours every day.”

Elias feels the most important thing he’s learned working at Walmart is to be a “true servant leader,” who likes to serve the customers’ and community’s needs; to exceed their expectations and take care of your associates.

After so many years working for Walmart, Elias has answers to the company’s critics:

– Their products are from foreign countries. Not true, he said, they do carry American made products and they are all marked “Made in America “ but they also sell goods from many different countries.

– They don’ t pay well. Again, Elias said the company has competitive pay, benefits and a new pay structure. Employees start at $9 per hour with the opportunity to add credits for previous experience. Participation in Walmart’s own six-month Pathway training also results in additional pay.

– Walmart doesn’t care about the community and hurts small independent businesses. To this Elias said the company makes the community better, improves the local economy, injects more good competition and helps the community grow. He said the competition helps the Mom and Pops get better at supplying the specialty items any community always needs.

With Walmart, customers can look forward to the convenience of having a large and varied selection of products in town, with everyday low prices and price matching, Elias commented.

The brand new 151,000 square foot building will have numerous conveniences:

– A unique drive through pharmacy where customers can just drop off their prescriptions at a window and them pick up there later at another window. The pharmacy will be open Monday-Saturday 9a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

A Walmart brand gas station – not open 24/7

On line ordering with store pick up – no shipping fees!

A money center where you can wire money, cash checks and pay bills

A nice garden center

Fabric and crafts

A vision center with a unique doctor’s office atmosphere

Elias has something else to celebrate as well. He’s getting married on SCF Saturday!

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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