By Tamas Mondovics
Following an official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, a large crowd of area residents who have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Walmart Supercenter in Valrico got their wish to become the very first customers earlier this month.
The celebration, hosted by Walmart executives and the new store’s management team and staff, included some festive sounds by the Bloomingdale High School Marching Band, the raising of the American flag at the front of the store, as well as few words of appreciation by Store Manager Peter Peck.
“I wanted to thank everyone who took part of making this project become a reality,” Peck, a 20-year Walmart veteran, told all present.
The new 153,000 sq. ft. supercenter, located at 2140 Bloomingdale Ave. just west of Lithia-Pinecrest Road, now anchors Crest Pointe Towne Shoppes, a 43-acre mixed use development project by Redstone Investments, and has replaced its much smaller predecessor just down the road inside the Bloomingdale Square Plaza, which has served the community for the past 30 years which was managed by Peck for the past 10.
Only the night before, Peck made the final closing announcements at the old store, but said that he is pleased with the timely opening of the new one.
“This opening celebration has been fantastic,” Peck said. “It is a special occasion for us, our staff and our customers, many of whom have been with us for years.”
After three years of its first rumored construction in the heart of the Bloomingdale community, the new Walmart Supercenter is now serving a broad assortment of fresh groceries and general merchandise at its signature value. The new store is promising a larger assortment of merchandize in electronics, furniture, sporting goods, home improvement, apparel, toys, along with a full line fabrics and a pet department, to name a few.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Supercenter is a full grocery store with fresh produce, meat and pantry staples, a full-service deli and in-store bakery offering custom cakes and fresh baked breads.
The store has no outside leased vendors such as restaurants, banks or a nail salon inside the building, but utilizes the space to feature a number of convenient on-site services such as full service vision and pharmacy with a free store pickup service providing an easy way to shop millions of products on Walmart.com, with many items available for pickup the same day.
Automotive products are also be offered, minus the traditional tire center, but additional space is utilized by the extended garden center and a much larger seasonal department.
Local resident Debra Jensen brought her daughter, Christal Duggins, to witness the opening of the new store.
“I have been going to the old Bloomingdale Square Plaza store for the past 20 years, and I have come to know many folks by their first name,” Jensen said. “Thankfully most of them are now here at the new store and I am looking forward to continue shopping here.”
Jensen added that while she realizes that the new store is much bigger, she is confident that the close knit, family atmosphere she has become accustomed to will remain.
Brandon resident Cindy Alford was the first through the doors and shared her excitement when she said, “I have been counting down the days.”
Demonstrating commitment to the community, the Walmart Foundation presented $8,000 in grants to 16 local community groups prior to official opening.
Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart, and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.
A family fun day is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, giving customers a chance to meet Peck, and his management team as well as enjoy activities and free food samples while supplies last. The celebration is scheduled from 12 Noon-3 p.m.