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Wal-Mart celebrates revamp at Shallowford Road location
Sherrie Wortel of Pendergrass shops with her 4-year-old daughter, Avery Wortel, at Wal-Mart’s grand reopening Wednesday in Gainesville. Officials showed off renovations and new features to the store, like wider aisles and lower shelves. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

When it opened 15 years ago, the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Shallowford Road was one of the first of the company’s mega-stores, offering everything from groceries to tires under one roof.

Wednesday morning, the store’s management and staff gathered for what became a giant pep rally to celebrate the completion of the store’s interior and exterior face-lift.

With the exception of the store’s food center, few departments are in their former locations. The store has an expanded sporting goods department. The electronics area has a 100-foot wall filled with televisions of every size.

"It was a total rearrangement," said store manager Anthony Howard. "Just about every department moved. We took some of the back room space and converted it into sales floor space to give a more open store area."

The entire store was painted inside and out. New signs that include the company’s new colors and logo are evident throughout the store. The store also has wider aisles and lower shelves. Housewares have been consolidated into one department with displays that now include rounded granite counters.

"This is a completely new layout and is designed to be more customer friendly," Howard said.

The remodeled store is more "green" with motion sensors to keep lights off in nonsales areas of the store when no one is present. Additionally, the new LED lighting throughout the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting. Water flow is regulated in the rest rooms through the use of sensor-activated faucets and high-efficiency toilets.

Howard said the store also has added to its merchandise lines.

"We have an extra selection of product that we didn’t have previously," he said.

The food market has a produce area nearly double its former size. The store also features an expanded selection of dry grocery items, including baking needs.

Among those on hand for the festivities were Gainesville Mayor Myrtle Figueras and Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

The event included an appearance by the drum line and dance team from the Gainesville High School marching band.