What follows are some local opinions on the renovations, as well as Wal-Mart’s explanation as to why the changes are being made and when they are looking to be finished.
iSurf News spoke with a life-long Hopkins County resident, Lorie Merrell, 44, who explained that, “I don’t care for the renovations, because it’s disorganized. You’ve got clothes next to the food, and the potato chips are way on the back wall, stationary is here, and office supplies are there—I don’t like it. It was better the other way. I know once they get it finished, it’ll be a little more organized, but until they do, I don’t like it at all.”
Local business owner and mother of 4, Melisa Bruner, told iSurf News her opinion on the Wal-Mart remodeling as well.
“I absolutely do not like it. I think everything is scattered out from one side to the other,” said Bruner. “I liked the way it was before. I liked having certain products that went together; I don’t like going and getting my kids’ school supplies over by the toys. I mean, I’m up for different, but it’s totally scattered out big time—you need a map to even go through there and find what you need. I just don’t like how things that don’t belong together are being put together.”
After speaking with other displeased Hopkins County residents, iSurf News felt it pertinent to speak with Wal-Mart’s Store Manager, Sandi Brooks, to find out exactly why the Madisonville Supercenter is undergoing these changes, what new services they will bring about, and when they plan to have the remodeling completed.
“We started the renovations on June 28th. This has been in the process for about 2-3 years,” said Brooks. “September 10th will be our Grand Opening date at 8:30am. We’ll have an official ribbon cutting, a whole grand opening, and a big blowout.”
As far as the reasoning behind the changes, Brooks explained that, “Wal-Mart typically goes through and updates their stores every 5-7 years. They either get new stores or renovate their old ones. It’s been exactly 7 years since this store has been renovated…It has got a whole new renovation from floors to paint, to ceilings, fixtures, signings, all the new bells and whistles, all the new technology upgrades, all the new efficiencies for economics as far as your bakery, deli, TLE, any of the compliance updates that needed to be made—just a basic overall renovation.”
Brooks also explained the economic impact of the renovations on Wal-Mart's sales as well, saying that, “During the process, you do see a decline, because you typically move everything. There are items that are not readily available, because that’s where they’re working—depending on what section—so it does get a little hectic and a little frustrating to the customers, because everything kind of moves and shuffles during the whole process. But, typically, after a remodel, you do see a sales increase because we’re getting new items. We’re bringing back old items that had previously been taken out, too.”
Brooks explained some of the new add-ons as well, which are as follows: an “in-line recess” bakery, which will include 2 cake decorating stations, different artesian breads, and a case for frozen cakes/ice cream cakes; the frozen seafood section will be expanded; deli upgrades, such as new fryers and hoods; an electronics department upgrade, including new TVs and increase of 30% in size; a new, more accessible bike rack; and a new money-service center in the center of the store, which will offer banking needs on-site.
“Bear with us,” said Brooks. “It’s to bring the customers a better shopping experience. Everything is geared for the customer’s convenience. It doesn’t seem like it right now, because we’ve moved everything, but just like in the electronics department here, it widens the aisles and makes things more accessible.”
In addition, Brooks told iSurf News that local contractors/construction crews were hired on to complete the renovation because “it’s always good when you can use people in your own town, because that just helps stimulate the economy even more.” In addition, approximately 75 of the workers from the renovation crews have been hired on in positions throughout the store, stated Brooks.
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