By Jenn Shanks
Standing where the Joel Alfalfa Queen farm once stood is the brand new Walmart Super center located on Godfrey Rd. Walmart Store number 4695 opened its doors yesterday amid fanfare and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6660 Godfrey Rd. Godfrey, IL.
Aside from a crowded parking lot, the first thing that sticks out is the fresh, youthful looking exterior. The new store has a warmer, friendlier look on the outside which suggest that unlike most other Walmarts this one may just be more than a warehouse. The entrances are clearly labeled; Market, Home and Living, and Outdoor Living.
In keeping with Walmart tradition, once inside it is easy to spot the greeter at each entrance offering you a pleasant shopping experience. At the grand opening there were representatives of the Walmart Vision Center offering free glasses cleanings and providing information about the store vision center. Between cleaning Steve, an optometrist at the vision center offered that “While he wasn’t sure what to expect as far as foot traffic it had increased as the day went on.” Vendors were everywhere in the main aisles, offering tastes and smells of products. If the vendor samples were not enough the huge signs advertising Walmart’s insanely low prices seemed to be doing a fair job getting products off the shelves. “The turn out has been very good today.” said Margaret, store manager as she stood in front of the check lanes offering credit card applications.
There are a few major differences in the new Walmart. The Godfrey center has an innovative feel to it as far as department location and appearance. The pharmacy, for example, is back with health and beauty instead of being cramped into the front of the store. The placement of the store departments offers a higher level of convenience to the customer. However many things remain the same such as the concrete floors and the cold warehouse feeling despite the hopeful façade of the exterior. The fresh food at the deli also received less than favorable reviews. “The chicken is very chewy here, I’m not sure the lady working here knows what she is doing,” said Jessica Wyatt, sophomore as she munched on fried chicken gizzards. “I don’t think I will be getting these here again.”