By Tamas Mondovics
The results of a three-month long remodeling project at the Walmart located at 949 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon were recently unveiled and celebrated during a re-introduction ceremony. The festivities, which included cake and a ribbon cutting, were topped off with a presentation of $10,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to nine local organizations.These included the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO), the Sincerely, Santa program, Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center, Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, Brandon Bolts basketball team, PAWS, Ministry of Hope of Brandon, A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay and Monster Club Foundation Services for Children. “The help comes at just the right time,” said Stacy Efaw of ECHO. “We truly appreciate Walmart choosing to support our efforts.” Last year, Walmart gave more than $378 million to local communities in the United States. “We try to give to as many local organizations as we can to support the causes that are important to our customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods,” said Walmart District Manager Dave Chamura.According to Store Manager Peter Peck, the improvements of the 23-year-old Brandon store were needed to make shopping more convenient for customers. “We listened to our customers and have re-designed the store to make shopping at Walmart even easier,” Peck said. “We want give the community and our local shoppers a glimpse of the company’s next generation of store design and customer experience.” Peck said that the remodeled store features a more open shopping environment that contains no product displays as well as the strategic alignment of a number of departments that customers shop most frequently, making it quicker to purchase everyday items. “The new layout is easier to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for necessities,” said Peck.The store’s renovated pharmacy has a more spacious customer area, as it continues to offer its $4 price on hundreds of generic prescriptions.Walmart added an expanded electronics department, which features a more hands-on experience with interactive displays for hi-definition Blue-ray, video gaming and portable electronics. A new department, Celebration Station, has also been added, featuring party supplies, greeting cards, balloons and helium tanks, cake supplies and gift wrap.Peck was specifically thankful to store associates, whom he said worked hard during the renovation process.“This was the most difficult remodeling event. The challenge was to keep the store shoppable during the project. Thank you and please thank your families,” Peck told all in attendance. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com.