Helena celebrates Walmart opening
By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist
As the official time for the opening ceremony for the Walmart Neighborhood Market #4189 in Helena approached, the crowd consisting of both Walmart employees and shoppers grew to an estimated 100 plus.
Free Community Coffee and Bryan hot dogs were available to the crowd, which experienced both a brief shower and a rainbow while waiting.
Store manager Chad Armstrong introduced his management team — Keith Becton, Penny Hanley, Jeff Goodwin and Jason Brown. Pharmacy manager is Megan Kirkpatrick.
“We’ve been anticipating this for a couple of years,” Mayor Mark Hall said. “This will be a catalyst to fill up the rest of this shopping center and a spur to other retail development nearby.”
“Our building inspectors and fire chief helped expedite this opening and the city was proud to do that. This is a milestone for Helena; we have been lacking that retail base, so this will truly make a difference.”
John Tow, Alabama Regional General Manager, thanked the store team, saying, “Sam Walton used to say, ‘Walmart is just an ordinary group of people doing extraordinary things.’ I can tell you that Sam would have been proud of this team.”
John Guice, Market Manager from Market #11 said, “We appreciate the long hours these associates have put in. The store management team from Store #11 is all on hand and has been instrumental in helping train new employees. We’re going to do everything we can to contribute to this community.”
Several grants were presented during the opening celebration, including $2,000 for the Helena High School Band Boosters; $1,500 for Boy Scouts of America Troop 2; $1,000 for Jane Holmes Public Library; $1,500 for Helena Intermediate School and $1,000 for Friends of Helena Schools and $1,000 for the Helena Police Explorers.
Armstrong led managers and associates in the “Walmart Cheer and then cut the ribbon.
On hand were City Council members Cris Nelson, Hal Woodman, Mike Jones and Leigh Hulsey, as well as Shelby Chamber of Commerce president Kirk Mancer.
As the doors opened to shoppers, freshly cut slices of cake were passed out to customers, along with soft drinks and bottled water. Mr. Oreo cruised the aisles and happy to provide hugs.