Walmart opens new supercenter in Homewood

  Walmart and local officals mark the opening of the new 
  Walmart supercenter in Homewood with a ribbon-cutting 
  Wednesday, Oct. 26. From left are state Rep. Will Davis, 
  Senior Vice President Karisa Sprague, store Manager 
  Dan Wehling, Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld, 
  Homewood Trustee Karen Washington and Regional 
  Vice President Irfan Badibanga.
(Photos by Eric 
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)

 

Walmart's new supercenter at 175th and Halsted streets opened its doors early Wednesday, Oct. 26, with fanfare provided by the Homewood-Flossmoor High School marching band and cheers by the store's staff.

Walmart and village officials marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld. 

  Walmart employees gather 
  to listen to a performance 
  by the H-F High School 
  marching band prior to 
  the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 210,000-square-foot store replaces the smaller store two miles south on Halsted Street in Glenwood, which closed at the end of the business day Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Store Manager Dan Wehling said 200 associates from the Glenwood store transferred to the new store, and 200 new employees were hired to complete the staff.

Irfan Badibanga, Walmart regional vice president of Northern Illinois, and Karisa Sprague, North Central Division senior vice president, lauded the efforts of the store management team and associates for their hard work making the move.
 

  Store Manager Dan Wehling, 
  left, presents a $1,000 
  check to Churchill School 
  Principal Cece Coffey.

"It is tough relocating a store," Badibanga said. He and Sprague gave special mention to Wehling and to Pratik Joshi, district manager, for their leadership. Wehling comes to the Homewood store with 12 years at the company, seven of those in store management positions.

Sprague said some of the Glenwood associates worked Tuesday night to finish last-minute details at that store and were at the new store first thing Wednesday morning to help with opening day.
 

  Store Manager Dan Wehling 
  presents a $1,000 check to 
  Prisma Arevalo, bilingual 
  outreach specialist for the 
  South Suburban Family 
  Sheltery.

"Look around at this beautiful store," Wehling said to the assembled associates. "You made this happen."

The store no longer resembles the Kmart that occupied the building until late 2013. Wehling said the structure was completely renovated and expanded by about 15,000 square feet. 
The spaciousness allows for a wider variety of products and services than were available at the Glenwood store, he said. 
 

  Store Manager Dan Wehling 
  presents a $2,500 check 
  to Homewood Police Chief 
  Bill Alcott.

The supercenter has full grocery offerings, including fresh produce, fresh meats and full service deli and bakery. 

It also has a full service money center, a garden center, a pharmacy and a fuel center. Wehling said he has high hopes for the success of the fuel center in the new location, with its proximity to Interstate 80/294.

Sprague thanked Hofeld and the village for supporting the project. 

"We're delighted to have Walmart here. We worked cooperatively with them while they were trying to open and it was a very good experience," Hofeld said. "We want to see you (be) very successful."

He noted that Walmart's success will help the village with an influx of sales tax revenue.

"We know the value of community," Wehling said. "The Homewood community had been very supportive of us."

As a sign of appreciation, he said, the company was making donations of more than $6,700 to local organizations. To those with representatives at the event, he presented three checks, one for $1,000 to the South Suburban Family Shelter, one for $1,000 to Churchill School and one for $2,500 to the Homewood Police Department. 

"Thank you Homewood Police Department for all you've done throughout this process, to help provide safety to our guests and our associates," he said. "We look forward to a great relationship with you."

Store hours are 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. The store's Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/walmart5404.

  Homewood firefighters conduct a training session at 
  the new Walmart store on Tuesday, Oct. 25, to get 
  familiar with the structure in case of emergency.

 

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