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Wal-Mart stages 'grand re-opening'
Fourteen years after first opening its doors, the Port Orchard Wal-Mart will celebrate its renovation in an ahead-of-schdule “grand reopening” ceremony early Wednesday morning.
“This is a needed upgrade,” said store manager Angie Powell. “This has been a long time coming. And our employees are very excited about the improvements.”
Wal-Mart stores look pretty much the same across the country, but the Port Orchard outlet has changed since just a few months ago. The lighting is brighter, and everything has been cleaned. Aisles are wider, to allow more than one shopping cart at a time.
Powell said the 103,000 square foot store still has all of the same items, but they are better organized for easier access.
“The store has been completely reconfigured,” she said.
The store employs about 260 people. Powell said the renovation has improved their spirits.
“They really deserve this,” she said.
True to the Wal-Mart tradition of shopping early, Wednesday’s ceremony starts at 7:30 a.m. Along with the expected ribbon-cutting, the store will present $4,500 in contributions to four local community groups.
Powell said that the store would still like to build on a food center, but could not say when that might occur.
Wal-Mart is currently outside of the city limits, but will be part of the Bethel Corridor package that is the next major annexation planned. Port Orchard Development Director James Weaver said the city would help to facilitate the permitting process should the store choose to expand.
Treasurer Allan Martin said that Wal-Mart would make a significant sales tax contribution to the city after annexation, but that specific amounts are kept confidential for competitive purposes.
The Port Orchard Wal-Mart is one of three stores in Kitsap County, along with East Bremerton and Poulsbo.
“We help people save money so they can improve their lives,” Powell said. “If they have more money, they have more to play with.”