Walmart employees excitedly greeted more than 300 shoppers with high-fives, smiles and cheers as they entered the highly-anticipated new Walmart Supercenter on Wednesday morning.
“We have waited for more than 10 years for this to happen," Tehachapi resident Vinnette Detloff said. "I’m excited for the affordable grocery prices and I get to purchase merchandise close to home.”
The new 151,000-square-foot Supercenter at 400 Tucker Road will provide shoppers with food, clothing, electronics, furniture, household goods, cosmetics, gardening and automotive goods, along with other needed supplies.
“It makes it convenient for people to shop here," said Marsha Thomas, a Tehachapi resident of more than 40 years. "When you have small children or are elderly, or middle aged. It really is nice to shop in our community."
The store will be open seven days a week, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and employs 200.
“We are very excited to bring to the community of Tehachapi a new store to experience convenient shopping at affordable prices,” Store Manager Amy Garcia said in a news release. “We are here to serve the customers’ needs with new services like free Grocery Pickup.”
Garcia said in an interview with Tehachapi News that about 85 percent of the 200 full- and part-time jobs were given to local residents. Other employees come from California City, Mojave, Arvin and other areas.
Customers will be able to take advantage of various new technology and time-saving methods.
Walmart’s free Grocery Pickup service will allow residents to pick up items without leaving their vehicles, at no extra cost, or have them delivered. Customers can use Walmart Voice Order, which allows Google Assistant to add items directly to the Walmart Grocery cart. Customers have to say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” to use this option for shopping.
New kiosks in the store allow customers to order items other than groceries online the same day, then pick them up in the store using PickUp Today.
Parents may order items online to help pay for a local school supply list, using the Teacher’s Lists. The Order & Hold on the Walmart app allows anyone to order items online in one state and then choose the store location where a recipient may pick up the item.
“I 100 percent support Walmart. I’m a big price shopper and I will shop here for that reason. My children go through snacks, shoes, clothes, etc. ... It’s helping me to save money versus driving down the hill. It’s going to be a game-changer for everything,” said Stephanie Harris, a Tehachapi resident of 30 years.
Premium delivery offers the opportunity for customers to have assistance in moving furniture directly to the room of choice, with packaging removal for $29.
Some local organizations from the community accepted donations at Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Tehachapi Police Department and the Kern County Fire Department in Tehachapi received $2,000 each; the Salvation Army received $1,500; and the Boys and Girls Club received $1,500.
City Manager Greg Garrett said, “We will do our part to support the store and welcome them to the city of Tehachapi.”