May 17, 2006

Wal-Mart Supercenter Opens in Fairfield Township, Ohio

By Chris Dumond, The Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio

May 17--FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP -- Shoppers looking to supersize their experience here will get 72,000 more square feet of room at Wal-Mart this morning.

After a year of construction, Store Manager Ben Kincer said his shop at the corner of Bypass Ohio 4 and Princeton Road is now officially a Supercenter.

"When we came here in 2002, it was just us and Home Depot," Kincer said. "To see all the development with the houses and the other stores here, it's been amazing. It's very exciting for us now to be able to serve our customers better." Much of the store's growth comes in the addition of a grocery section. The grocery includes a new deli, bakery and produce department. As of Tuesday, workers will still be going around the clock to stock meat and produce, but Kincer said he just couldn't keep shoppers out of the new isles.

Even orange construction fencing erected to keep shoppers away from the hot dogs so clerks could stock the shelves wasn't enough.

"We had one woman step right over it to try to grab some meat," Kincer said.

"I told her, 'I'm sorry, but we're not quite ready to sell that to you right now,' but she told us that if she could see it, she was going to grab it." Corporate spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said that each Wal-Mart is tailored to the community in which it does business.

For instance, she said, this store has a section of large volume items for the new and growing families in the market, Hispanic and Latino foods, DVDs and music, and sells rosaries in the jewelry section for the large number of Catholics in the area.

The store also includes an expanded electronics section that features iPods, plasma screen televisions, satellite radios and DirecTV equipment.

"We're also pushing the Xbox 360," Kincer said. "We finally have the inventory to support it with games and the system." Just as the store's offerings are largely dictated by area demographics, so was the decision to expand the 4-year-old store, Kincer said.

He said the decision was motivated much less by the competition from stores such as Target, JC Penney and Best Buy at Bridgewater Falls than by pure market demand.

Some of Wal-Mart's neighbors in the Walden Ponds subdivision supported that conclusion.

"It's really convenient, which is a good thing," Tim Muyo said. "Gas is so expensive right now and with this across the street, I don't have to travel.

I can just walk there." A few doors down, Erin Beckman said she shops at the store at least once a week and considered being able to get her grocery shopping done at the same time "a very good thing." The Supercenter will be open 24/7. It also includes a nail salon, drive-through pharmacy lanes, a Subway restaurant and Companion Health Services. The store employs 350 workers and is still hiring, according to the manager.

The grand opening ceremony is set to begin at 8 a.m. with the ribbon cutting by a 12-year-old boy who requested a shopping spree through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


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