Throwback Thursday: Cutting into a new era (2012)

MIDGE SEAMAN SHOWS off a grill set for sale at the new Berlin Walmart Supercenter.  Andrea Lyke photo

Walmart opens ‘Supercenter’ in Berlin

by Andrea Lyke

A new Walmart Supercenter in Berlin recently held — what else? — a super grand opening.

Beneficiaries of the celebration were customers, the community and even store employees.

May 16 marked the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Walmart Supercenter located at 861 County Road F in Berlin.

In honor of the occasion, Berlin High School’s madrigal choir and jazz band performed.

The VFW and American Legion raised the American flag and performed the color guard.

In attendance were members of the Chamber of Commerce, city Mayor Richard Schramer, city council members, and state legislators Sen. Luther Olson and Rep. Joan Ballweg.

The Walmart Foundation presented $8,000 in grant funding to the Berlin High School Key Club, music department and a literacy program, the Berlin Police Department, Berlin Boys and Girls Club, and the Berlin Kiwanis Club.

Walmart Supercenter replaces Walmart at 822 Broadway St. The building is currently for sale.

Fifty more employees will work at the new Walmart to total around 165 people.

Assistant manager of Walmart Supercenter Midge Seaman said the store currently is hiring 15 to 20 more positions.

More than 25 of the store’s employees have worked for Walmart for more than 10 years, and 13 employees have worked there since Berlin’s original Walmart opened.

Walmart Supercenter values staying in Green Lake County, near the location of the original Walmart, in order to remain accessible to residents from Berlin, Wautoma, Neshkoro, Princeton, Poy Sippi, Wild Rose, Auroraville, Ripon and Green Lake.

Why open a new Walmart when Berlin already had the store?

More services.

“There are very little choices for groceries,” Seaman said. “Our customers have been telling us for years and years that they would like a grocery. [We strive to] meet our customers’ needs.”

Walmart Supercenter carries a full line of groceries including a bakery with made-to-order cakes, deli, meat and dairy, fresh produce, frozen foods and liquor.

The store also brings wider aisles, lower shelving, directional signage in each aisle and a variety of customer service resources located near the store’s entrance.

“I think the store layout is really nice,” Seaman said. “Shoppers will also find a pharmacy with drive-thru, salon and arcade room at the front of the store.

Thirty different merchandise departments offer apparel, lawn and garden items, health and beauty products, digital photo processing and more.

The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The old Walmart was around 60,000 square feet; the new Walmart Supercenter is over 120,000 square feet.

“Ours is one of the newest prototypes,” Seaman said.

Though Walmart is gaining substantial size, it remains one of the smaller Walmart models.

Walmart believes the smaller size will appeal to the sizable, retired population in the Berlin area who do not want to navigate giant stores.

The store is being received well by shoppers so far.

A week after opening Walmart Superstar had more shopping traffic than was predicted.

The environment also can thank Walmart Supercenter, because the store is taking a number of measures to ensure energy efficiency.

Skylights in the ceiling reduce the need for light energy by 75 percent.

Where lights are needed, LED lighting conserves energy needs by being 70 percent more efficient than traditional, fluorescent lighting.

The cement floor is made from recycled materials and its finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners.

Low-flow faucets and toilets conserve water.

Walmart Supercenter also operates a recycling program and compost program.

“Our goal is to always exceed customers’ expectations,” Seaman said. “We like to hear feedback. We always match competitors’ prices. We are here for [our customers].”