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‘It will be a success’

Wal-Mart opens doors to throng of eager residents

Collin Smith

Wednesday started early for one Craig family and its neighbor.

Heidi Bohne and her three daughters, Katie, Hannah and Abby, started their morning at 4 a.m., waiting outside in the cold for the new Wal-Mart SuperCenter at 2000 W. Victory Way to open the doors after the 7:30 a.m. Grand Opening.

“Are you kidding?” Bohne responded to why she came so early. “Wal-Mart is the biggest thing to hit Craig in a long time.”

So it came to pass that the Bohne clan and their neighbor Pat Johnson munched on toasted bagels and sat in their lawn chairs Wednesday morning under a tall patio heater provided by the store’s assistant manager J.D. Howerton, anticipating their first look inside the national retail chain’s new addition.

After a brief ceremony, the Craig Wal-Mart opened its doors for the first time and will open them again from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every morning from here until the foreseeable future.

VFW Post 4265 raised the American flag and fired a 21-gun salute over the crowd to start the ceremony. The Moffat County High School band also played.

Lou Groff, Wal-Mart store manager, presented seven groups with checks totaling $37,000. The Moffat County School District received $15,000, the largest amount.

Groff said the opening was a humbling experience. The community had been welcoming before the opening, but the turnout that morning was “truly great,” she said.

Groff was especially proud of Wal-Mart’s employees, saying they worked hard to make sure the store was in top form for the opening.

Starting about five weeks ago, Wal-Mart employees have been building the store’s interior, putting up shelving and registers and stocking the aisles.

Other visitors eager to become customers said things similar to the Bohne family.

“I’m very excited,” said Gloria Blakely, who moved to Craig from Ft. Collins three years ago.

She looked forward to “some reasonable prices” and a “better selection” of merchandise with Wal-Mart in town, she said.

Ron and Rosa Logan, 11-year Craig residents, were thankful they no longer would have to drive to Steamboat Springs, Rifle or Vernal, Utah, to shop.

“You have the convenience of the groceries, electronics and clothes right in the same department, and I think that’s great,” Ron said.

Jordan Field, a 13-year-old Craig resident, was pumped about one thing in particular Wal-Mart could offer: the clothes.

“Finally, we have some other shopping,” Field said. “Around here, you cannot find anything.”

Once inside, residents liked what they saw, for the most part.

“It’s a very nice store,” Betty Switzler said. “I thought there would be a fabric and yarn section, but everything here looks great. The store will, oh yeah, it will be a success.”

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


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