New Walmart Set To Open Wednesday In Bakersfield

The wait is over for residents in Bakersfield eager to see their new Walmart open this month, bringing 500 new jobs, savings on a full line of groceries and a wide selection of new products and services.

The new Walmart at 5075 Gosford Road is said to be designed as a one-stop shopping destination.

Community leaders and local dignitaries will join Walmart store manager Mike McWilliams and associates at the 8 a.m. March 17 grand-opening ceremony to share what the new store brings to the community, including $15,000 in grants to local organizations.

According to Donna L. Kunz, City of Bakersfield economic development director, the new Walmart is a welcome retail addition to Bakersfield. “Dealing with the challenging city budget and high local unemployment, this new center will bring much needed sales tax revenue along with 500 new jobs providing a positive economic impact to the city,” said Kunz.

“I’m thrilled that Walmart will be opening a second store in Bakersfield,” said Bakersfield City Council member Harold Hanson. “The creation of 500 new jobs could not have come at a better time. I want to thank Walmart for being a committed partner to our great community."

Store Designed to Improve Customer Experience

In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements are highlighted in the company’s newest stores, such as the Bakersfield Walmart, designed as a convenient one-stop shopping center with faster, friendlier service and time-savings features.

The 223,884-square-foot Walmart aligned its departments that customers shop most frequently. A bright interior creates an inviting shopping experience and helps define the store’s merchandise areas. Lower shelving improves the overall sightline and directional signage on every aisle helps customers find what they are looking for quickly.

The store offers values in all 30 departments, including savings on a full line of groceries as well as artisan breads and custom cakes in the bakery, freshly prepared meal solutions in the deli, frozen food, meat, dairy, fresh produce as well as beer, wine and liquor. Shoppers will also find the latest in family apparel, health and beauty aids, shoes, accessories home furnishings and the most current HDTVs, camcorders, digital cameras and video gaming systems in the electronics department.

Store manager Mike McWilliams says he is excited to unveil the expansive grocery department. “The Bakersfield community consists of hard-working families, and now our shoppers can find everything they need in one place, saving them both time and money,” said McWilliams.

Additional time-saving features include Bakersfield’s only MoneyCenter which offers financial services including check cashing, money transfers, bill payment options and the Walmart MoneyCard. A pharmacy with a dedicated staff to assist with all healthcare needs, a garden center, Walmart Connect Center for cellular phones and a one-hour digital photo lab are also available in the new store.

Economic Impact Includes 500 New Jobs

The new Bakersfield Walmart will employ approximately 500 associates, according to McWilliams. A native of Bakersfield, McWilliams began his Walmart career in 1999 as an hourly associate, working in the apparel department at a store in Santa Maria, before management positions at Walmart stores in Visalia and Tulare.

Store Focuses on Community Needs with $15,000 in Donations

As part of Walmart’s commitment to the communities in which it operates, $15,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation will be presented during the grand-opening celebration. A special $5,000 grant will be presented to the Flood Ministries, Inc. to directly support the most impoverished families of Bakersfield receive groceries and assistance with hygiene.

“Before our store even opened, we committed to being an active and involved community partner,” McWilliams said. “We have a wonderful opportunity to positively impact people right here, and we are happy that these grants will directly help families in our community,” McWilliams added.

Additional recipients also include the Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Arts Council of Kern County, Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation and Donald E. Suburu School.

Store Design Incorporates Environmentally Friendly Features

The Bakersfield Walmart, like all new Walmart stores, includes energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The store’s 200 skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.

The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floor’s finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. The new store also operates a recycling program and will promote sustainable product purchases.

Store facts -
  • Location: 5075
  • Gosford Road, Bakersfield, Calif.
  • 223,884-square-foot Walmart
  • Store opens at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 17 following a 8 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony
  • Store manager: Mike McWilliams
  • Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Store features
  • Full line of groceries including a bakery, a deli serving fresh food and meal solutions, meat and dairy products, fresh produce, beer, wine and liquor
  • More than 30 merchandise departments such as apparel and accessories, a lawn and garden center, health and beauty aids, and an expanded electronics department
  • Convenience services include a pharmacy, a MoneyCenter, digital photo processing center and Walmart Connect Center
  • Leased areas and services include a branch ofTri Counties Bank, SmartStyle Family Hair Salon, DaVi Nail Salon and a McDonald’s restaurant
  • Charitable giving

    $15,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to the following area organizations:
  • Flood Ministries, Inc.
  • Alzheimer’s Foundation
  • Arts Council of Kern County
  • Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation
  • Donald E. Suburu School
  • Employment

  • Store plans to employ approximately 500 associates
  • The average wage at Walmart for full-time hourly associates in California is approximately $12.07 per hour*
  • Walmart benefits – available to eligible full- and part-time associates – include health insurance with no lifetime maximum. Walmart also offers a 401(k) plan and profit sharing contributions, whether an associate contributes or not, store discount cards, company performance-based bonuses, stock purchase program and life insurance
  • * Average wage taken January 2010. See www.walmartstores.com for details.

    Information Provided By Joanna King of Mitchell Communications Group
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