Management, associates made early opening a reality

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The weeks leading up to the opening of the Demopolis Wal-Mart Supercenter have been stressful for management and associates.

But with the hard work behind them, Sunday night was a chance for everyone to relax and welcome the community to the new store.

Store Manager John Whitehead said making the move to a Supercenter has not always been easy. But, he said, having a strong management team made the move as easy as it could possibly be.

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“A store manager is only as good as his management team,” Whitehead said. “We have an excellent management team at this store. They have certainly made my job a lot easier.”

During the transition, several representatives from the home office were in town to help. One such member, Kristy Jones, said the ambitious group she encountered in Demopolis made her time in Marengo County a pleasurable experience.

“They have shown me nothing but kindness since I have been here,” Jones said. “They have all done everything they could to help us out and get this store ready to open. They really did an outstanding job.”

The store was originally scheduled to open Wednesday, Jan. 25, but the store was ahead of schedule and opted to open its doors to the public at 7 a.m. yesterday.

Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said the announcement of the early opening was great news for her city. She praised the efforts of everyone who helped make this possible.

“This is an excellent night for the people of Demopolis,” Williamson said. “It is very inspiring the way they were able to pull this together and open the store two days early. It is just amazing what they have been able to accomplish.”

The opening of the Demopolis Supercenter is the second of its kind in this district. District Manager Dan Fagan said he has spent a lot of time in the Black Belt preparing Supercenters to open and working with Whitehead and his staff has been great.

“This has truly been a labor of love,” Fagan said. “John and I have been watching this thing come together for about a year and now we are here. I think we have one of the best management teams in the company right here in Demopolis.”

Monday’s opening was one of 65 new Wal-Mart stores to open in the United States. Fagan credited the explosive growth with customer service. He said this was a trend they intend to keep alive in Demopolis.

“We are growing, we are strong and I think the reason for that is we take care of the customer as good as we can,” Fagan said. “We plan to continue doing that in the Demopolis store.”

Prior to closing the ceremony, several $1,000 grants were given to groups and organizations that make a difference in the community.

Demopolis, Linden city schools as well as John Essex, Sunshine, Greensboro High School and Greensboro Elementary Schools all received grants.

Demopolis and Linden fire and police forces, along with the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department and rescue squad also received grants.

Other grant recipients included the Demopolis and Marengo County libraries, the Demopolis Park and Recreation Department, the American Cancer Society and United Way. Harriet’s House also received a $500 grant.

While the store was being set up, Whitehead said, employees were given the opportunity to have their oil changed and develop film. The money raised from these projects, which was $738, was donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.