Statesboro's busiest retail shopping outlet is undergoing a complete makeover.
The Statesboro Walmart located on Northside Drive East, recently began an extensive renovation.
The 186,000 square foot store will receive a full remodel from the inside out and will represent the latest in Walmart's store design.
"We listened to our customers and are redesigning the store to make shopping at Walmart even easier," said the store's co-manager Gina Saxon. "These changes are in line with our core philosophy which is we want the customer to save money and live better."
Renovation of the 26-year-old store began in mid March and is expected to conclude in the latter part of June. Every department of the store will be updated including all new shelving, signing, flooring and product assortment.
"The store will have a new layout designed to make shopping for everyday items easier and faster by aligning the products that customers purchase the most," Saxon said. "The new design will feature a clean, open and bright new look in the store with wider aisles, low-profile shelving, bright interior paint scheme, lighting, and easy-to-read signage to help customers find the products they need."
Saxon said that the major renovation work is being done between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day.
"The work crews come in at night and move what they need to so as to be able to replace a section of flooring," she said. "In addition, the shelving is being replaced or updated. Everything is put back into working order early in the morning, before the morning rush of customers comes in."
While Saxon believes customers ultimately will be pleased with the changes that are being made, she understands that the process is creating some frustration.
"We have already moved some things to different locations, and that can cause some agitation," she said. "Also, we have expanded and contracted some departments, and that can also be an issue for some."
One local Walmart customer said she thinks the changes will be good ones once everything is complete.
"Sooner or later, most retail businesses need to be updated or remodeled," Dawn Oliver said. "They are making these changes to make it easier to shop here, and I think they will probably be for the better. I guess we will just need to be patient."
The outside of the store also will receive a comprehensive facelift.
"There will be new paint and signage," Saxon said.
Two of the major changes will be a much larger electronics department and the relocation of the "pet" section. The footprint of the electronics department is now three times larger than it was. The pet section has also been enlarged and is now located next to electronics at the back of the store.
"Having the pet section next to the grocery section makes much more sense to me," said Bryan County resident Gina Smith. "I hated having to lug my groceries across the store to buy dog food. This is much more convenient."
Saxon said the dramatic increase in the size of the electronics department is a reflection of the age that we live in.
"That is what everyone wants - a huge assortment of the latest in electronics," she said. "The demand is just tremendous. Our old electronics department just wasn't big enough, and this new design allows the customer to get around the department much more easily."
In addition to lower profile shelving which allows for ease in locating different products, the renovated design will have no displays in the middle of the aisle ways. "I know that it gets crowded, and it becomes difficult to navigate around the displays that have been in the middle of the aisles," Saxon said. "But, once this is done, there will be no displays in the aisles. And, we are making the aisles wider as well."
As of April 2010, Walmart's presence in Georgia included 130 supercenters, six discount stores, and 22 Sam's Clubs. The total number of Walmart associates in Georgia is 52,336. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol of WMT.