Walmart grand opening
WHERE: Walmart, 1030 Sperry Ave.
WHEN: 7:30 a.m.; the store will open immediately after the ceremony, and regular hours will be 6 a.m. to midnight daily
INFO: 895-4407. The local store also has a Facebook site at www.facebook.com/Walmart5843
Stanislaus County’s largest Walmart store will celebrate its opening in Patterson bright and early Wednesday, Jan. 23, with a 7:30 a.m. ceremony, including donations to local nonprofits and a rendition of the national anthem.
When company officials open the store to the public at 1030 Sperry Ave., it will mark the culmination of nearly four years of planning and close to a year of construction.
“We look forward to serving the people of Patterson, helping them to save money so they can live better,” stated store manager Troy McMahan in a prepared statement this week.
The 157,805-square-foot store at Sperry and Ward avenues will sell groceries and products in more than 30 merchandise departments. It will have a pharmacy, a digital-photo processing center, a vision center, a SmartStyle hair salon and a Subway restaurant.
The store employs 320 people, and company officials say more than 90 percent of them live in Patterson.
City leaders this week said they looked forward to seeing the project finally open. Hundreds of local residents attended City Council and planning commission meetings regarding the supercenter in fall 2010, overflowing the council chambers, and most of them advocated for the opening of the big-box retailer in town.
“I think it really provides options for people to shop local,” said Mayor Luis Molina, who noted that sales tax from the store will also swell the city’s coffers.
He said the new store looks nicer than any other Walmart he has seen, with palm trees and gazebos in front.
Councilman Dominic Farinha, the only council member remaining on the dais from when Walmart’s plans were approved in October 2010 during Mayor Becky Campo’s term, said it was gratifying to see the store preparing to open.
“I’m glad to have seen it go from conception to planning to implementation,” he said.
Like other Walmart stores, the Patterson store will sell clothing, health and beauty products, electronics, toys, jewelry, lawn and garden supplies, automotive parts, hardware and home furnishings, among other items.
Dharmesh Patel, who owns a Subway eatery in the Patterson Marketplace shopping center across the street, will also run the Subway restaurant inside Walmart.
He said he doesn’t expect the new sandwich shop to compete with his other store, as he anticipates it will attract primarily shoppers, not people who just happen to want a sandwich.
Patel said he was pleased to see Walmart come to town.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s a very nice facility.”
Blues Café owner Rick Barron, a downtown advocate who has been vocal in his opposition to Walmart, said the superstore sells some items that are already offered locally by mom-and-pop retailers, and established local businesses may suffer in the short term.
He expects to see a reduction in pedestrian traffic downtown as residents check out the big-box retailer. But he also expects them to return to patronizing smaller businesses because of their customer service.
“In the beginning, is it going to hurt us? Yeah, it’s going to hurt us,” he said. “But I think after the new-car smell goes away, they’ll come back downtown.”
Denise Sperle, president of the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce, said Walmart may actually help the local business climate by attracting people from outside Patterson, who might patronize other stores and businesses while they are in town, she said.
She said the Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance — an organization that seeks to attract businesses to the county and to retain existing businesses — encouraged small-business owners during workshops last year to find a niche and capitalize on it.
“I hope our business community comes out to welcome our new business here in the Patterson area,” Sperle said.
The store plans to donate $8,000 in grants during Wednesday’s grand opening ceremony. Homeless advocacy group Helping Others Sleep Tonight and scholarship foundation Patterson Recognizing Individuals Determined to Excel will receive $1,000 checks. The Patterson Apricot Fiesta, Patterson Volunteer Fire Department, Patterson Youth Soccer Association and Westside Food Pantry will receive $1,500 each.
Like other grand openings, the event will also include product samplings and giveaways from various companies, and Walmart associate Christy Menchaca of Patterson will sing the national anthem.
Regular store hours after the grand opening will be 6 a.m. to midnight each day.
• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or email@example.com.