Hundreds of people packed into Anna’s newest grocery story Wal-Mart on Wednesday to celebrate its grand opening and ribbon cutting.
A DJ, the Anna High School Marching Band and Anna cheerleaders pumped up the crowd and got people dancing at 7 a.m.
The store located at the intersection of FM 455 and Highway 75 is the first of its kind in Anna. Residents now have a place to shop at 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I think this is going to provide a good opportunity and open several doors for other businesses to come in,” Mike Mixson, the president of the Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce, said. “As the Chamber, what we’re going to do is we’re going to focus on welcoming those businesses in, and again partnering with them to enhance the overall collaboration within the business community as well as the citizens within Anna.”
Store Manager Kevin Crawford has lived in Anna for 12 years. This is his fourth Wal-Mart store to work in — the others were in Allen and Plano. He said working in his own town feels like coming home.
“I can really get my roots,” Crawford said. “This is where I can get engaged with the community. I can really get involved a lot more than I felt I could in the other communities.”
This Anna location employs 208 people. Crawford said more than half of them are from Anna.
Inside the store, customers may notice a few differences from other Wal-Marts.
“This is the latest and greatest as far as our signing package,” Crawford said. “Our electronics department is a little bit different than what you’ll find in other stores. The layout in the automotive center is a little bit different. Actually the fresh areas are a lot different from other stores too, but the product, the things we carry on the shelf, are going to be very similar to other stores.”
Another difference is the store’s pickup service. At most stores customers have to walk to the back of the building to pick up their online purchase, but at the Anna store there’s a waiting area at the front of the store on the grocery side.
“We will eventually do the online grocery, and I know that’s what a lot of our customers are asking for,” he said. “But that is supposed to be later, like in the third or fourth quarter when we layer that on. But the biggest difference you’re going to find is our people. We’re going to make sure that we’re going to make a difference here.”