By Tamas Mondovics

Three years after its first rumored construction in the heart of the Bloomingdale community, the new Walmart Supercenter is ready to open its doors on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 a.m., bringing a broad assortment of fresh groceries and general merchandise at its signature value.

“This is a store with the same low prices and a new address,” said Store Manager Peter Peck, a 20-year Walmart veteran, who is leading the more than 400 full and part-time associates in welcoming the community.

The new 153,000 sq., ft, Supercenter, located at 2140 Bloomingdale Ave. just west of Lithia Pinecrest Road, will anchor Crest Pointe Towne Shoppes, a 43-acre mixed use development project by Redstone Investments.

On opening day, the new store will officially replace its much smaller predecessor just down the road inside the Bloomingdale Square Plaza, which has served the community for the past 30 years and was managed by Peck for the past 10.

The new store is promising a larger assortment of merchandise in electronics, furniture, sporting goods, home improvement, apparel, toys along with a full line of 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.

“We will also carry local products like Plant City Strawberries,” Peck proudly said.

According to officials, 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 will also be offered, minus the traditional tire center. Peck said that the additional space is utilized by the extended garden center and a much larger seasonal department.

While on the surface the new store appears pretty much the same as all the rest, with one important element that Peck and his associates worked hard to provide to local customers over the years.

“We are serving the same community, including many of our customers we call by name, who rely on low prices as well as a quick and friendly service they were used to at the old store,” Peck said. “We intend to continue that tradition. This is not just another big box store, but a place with a family atmosphere. I want our customers to be happy and to receive the same service they have enjoyed at the old store.”

Peck rests his confidence in a solid line of longtime associates including Gerri Kanahan, who was there to open the Bloomingdale Square Plaza store in 1986, and now has a chance to welcome her friends, family and area residents for another grand opening celebration.

“I am so excited to be going to the new store,” Kanahan said. “I opened this store 30 years ago and now I get to open our new Supercenter.”

Opening day festivities will include a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 9 followed by a family fun day on 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.

Demonstrating commitment to the community, a presentation of $8,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to local community groups are also scheduled prior to official opening.

Additional information about Walmart can be found at corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales available at www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com.