By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It’s been 18 years since the Walmart Supercenter opened on North Gloster Street – a generation of shoppers ago.
“It’s pretty much been the same prototype and layout since then,” said store manager Howard Brannon. “This is the first major renovation this store has had.”
Shoppers have likely noticed new signs, new paint and new shelves in the store since work began two weeks ago.
But more changes are on the way.
According to a company statement, the story is getting a “full remodel from the inside out and will represent the latest in Walmart’s store design and customer experience.”
Brannon, who’s been with the company for 36 years, opened the Supercenter and was the manager of the store it replaced on South Gloster Street.
“I guess you could say this would be my third store in Tupelo,” he said. “We’re excited to bring an improved shopping experience to our customers. We listened to them and we’re redesigning the store to make shopping easier.”
The new look includes wider aisles, low-profile shelving, brighter colors – including yellow and green – and new signs. Carpet will give way to laminate flooring.
All of the floor tiles will be replaced, section by section. And customers will notice the difference, with the new, white, polished tile standing in stark contrast to the older flooring.
Walmart won’t reveal the cost of the massive remodel, and Brannon said he could only guess at the price tag.
“It’s a significant investment, I’m sure,” he said.
That shouldn’t be a big problem for the world’s largest retailer, which pulled in more than $400 billion in sales and $14 billion in net income last year.
But customers accustomed to the old Supercenter will have to get used to the new layout. It won’t be too hard to find electronics – it’s been moved to the back of the store and has more than doubled in size.
While the food section will stay where it is and the pharmacy – now sitting in a temporary location – will move back, nearly every other department in the store will shift locations.
Clayton has been shopping at Walmart since the early 1980s and said she looks forward to the new look, if not the extra time it may take for her to get used to the new digs.
“I’ve been to the new (Supercenters) in Pontotoc and Booneville, and they’re really nice,” she said. “This one was getting, what’s that saying – long in the tooth. But I might need a map to get around.”
No problem – Brannon said maps will be provided once the remodeling is finished, which is scheduled for May.