Maureen Ridnour, left, and John Howerton put together new shelving Tuesday afternoon at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Craig. The store is on scheduled to open Nov 7.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Maureen Ridnour, left, and John Howerton put together new shelving Tuesday afternoon at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Craig. The store is on scheduled to open Nov 7.

Wal-Mart on track for Nov. 7 opening

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Maureen Ridnour, left, and John Howerton put together new shelving Tuesday afternoon at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Craig. The store is on scheduled to open Nov 7.

— Rumor: Wal-Mart has not been able to find enough employees and will likely postpone its opening until January. Response: There has not been any problem finding an eager workforce, store manager Lou Groff said.

"We literally have every associate we need," she said. "We are only missing 14 associates to-date. That's out of 268."

The Craig SuperCenter is "absolutely on track" to meet its November target date, she added.

Forklifts bring in metal pieces and wood paneling. Groups of co-workers unload materials and build shelving.

Even though the building still is raw, with wires hanging from the ceiling and half-put-together checkout stands in front, the Wal-Mart SuperCenter marches toward its grand opening.

"We are 100 percent on track for the Nov. 7 grand opening," Groff said. "The first week we come in as a team and set up all the fixtures (large shelving units) with our new associates."

Wal-Mart management took over responsibility for the store from general contractors Monday. Many of the bigger fixtures, such as the grocery and freezer aisles and the taller display shelves for apparel, are already in place.

"We should be done with the fixtures by the end of the week," Groff said. "After we get all the shelving done, we can go in with the details like the racks."

This week, Wal-Mart has 100 of its employees working at the store. As the job gets bigger and the opening nears, more employees will start.

The store will bring more than 40 additional associates next week, assistant manager Yvonne McAnany said. By week three, Wal-Mart will use all the associates on staff, which is expected to be 268.

Associates onsite will be working in shifts 24 hours each day until the store opens. Overnight crews will do much the same as day-shift crews, Groff said.

"We have an overnight crew that continues what we are doing," she said. "We continue as a team."

Week three also is when Wal-Mart plans to begin stocking products and produce, Groff said. The exact products have been determined by a survey of the local area.

"We are a store of the community," Groff said. "If we go in and find that we're missing something, we can tailor to the needs if they're a little different than we originally thought."

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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