Shoppers at the redesigned Walmart Supercenter in Cleveland are finding sparkling floors, new shelving layouts and more products since the store celebrated its grand reopening on Friday, Oct. 5.
The celebration was attended by dozens of store employees and managers, City Manager Kelly McDonald and members of the Cleveland City Council and Economic Development Corporation, Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Chief Operating Officer Jim Carson and other business leaders in the Cleveland community.
Manager Bill Belobradic, store manager, and Tim Hughes, the store’s asset protection manager, led the gathering. The celebration also marked Belobradic’s last day as manager of the Cleveland store.
“With a heavy heart, I will be leaving this store. We’ve all been through a lot together. We’ve been through a hurricane whose name I will not mention, and we’ve come out the other side better and brighter,” Belobradic said.
Last year’s Hurricane Harvey presented some tremendous challenges but provided an opportunity to see the community and store employees work together, he said.
“I want to tell you, we are part of the community through our associates who work here and those who live in the area, to the customers who shop here,” Belobradic said.
Aaron Whitehouse, the store’s new manager and a 15-year employee of Walmart, thanked Belobradic and his team for all their work on the remodeling project.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to step on this stage and to continue leading this store. I am so thankful to work for a company that allows us to be a community-based business. Thank you to the chamber of commerce and all the individuals who came out to celebrate with us today,” Whitehouse said.
Employees who have worked for Walmart for 30-plus years were recognized during the event. The group includes Angela Franklin, 33 years; Vicki Parham, 31 years; Barbra Carter, 30 years; Debra Terry, 30 years; Mattie Mitchell, 30 years; and Brenda Thompson, 30 years.
“These associates have been with Walmart for over 30 years and have made it what it is today. They have made the store part of the community,” said Hughes.
The longtime employees then helped with a presentation of grants. Cleveland ISD was gifted with $1,000 for its support of education in the community. Cleveland police and fire departments received $1,000 checks for their work in keeping the community safe.
Local non-profit, Resurrections Ministry, founded by Juanita Lewis, was given a grant for its work in ensuring that students have school supplies, Christmas gifts and other items needed throughout the year.
The celebration ended with a ribbon cutting with the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, followed by refreshments.