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Walmart’s open!

Visitors took every parking spot Wednesday morning
By: Patty McAlpin Lincoln News Messenger Reporter
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Approximately 30 Walmart Neighborhood Market associates welcomed several hundred visitors to the new store with a store map and big smiles at 8 a.m. following the official grand-opening ceremony Wednesday morning. By 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the parking lot was full and shoppers found parking on nearby streets. Mark Cataldo, one of four assistant managers, took a walkie-talkie call for a price check on strawberries while local elected officials, business representatives and community members waited for the ribbon cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Walmart associates in the parking lot yelled, “Teamwork. Whoo!” Eight members from Boy Scout Troop 533 presented the colors, Walmart associate Andrea Parker sang the National Anthem and the Rev. Bill Garrett, another Walmart associate, gave the invocation. Garrett called the new store a blessing. “The foundational part of a blessing is a gift,” Garrett said. “This is a gift we receive and a gift we share. All blessings come from God. It is our privilege to receive this blessing and share the blessing with others.” Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short called the opening “fantastic" and remarked about the number of individuals “who turned out so early in the morning.” “It’s great that you are here. With this building opening, it shows Lincoln is on a resurgence. I want to thank Walmart for reopening (a neighborhood grocery store to replace Rainbow Market),” Short said. “I am sure you will have much success here. I look forward to seeing all of you inside and the sales taxes flowing back into our community.” Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Romness welcomed having another grocery store downtown. Rainbow Market closed in 2008. “This is a wonderful opportunity to shop local,” Romness said. “I can’t wait until you see the inside. It’s big.” Store Manager Katrina Contreras, a Wheatland resident, thanked her crew for “the hard work they did to get ready” for the Lincoln store’s opening. Contreras told the community members present for the opening of the Lincoln store, “If you need anything, I’m always available.” Contreras handed out grants from Walmart to community organizations, including $1,000 to Lincoln Crossing Elementary School, $1,000 to the Lincoln Community Foundation, $1,000 to the Police Activities League, $1,000 to the Lincoln Fire Department and $2,000 to the Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center. Lincoln Police Officer Steve Krueger accepted the PAL grant on behalf of the police department. “We provide services to kids free and this will help us do more,” Krueger said. “We welcome you with open arms.” Interim Lincoln Fire Chief Mike Davis said he is “excited to have Walmart as a new community partner.” The grant will help the department provide training for firefighters, which will “go back into the community we serve,” according to Davis. Training was an item trimmed to help balance the city’s budget. Daytime support manager Dwight Stearne was among the associates handing store maps to shoppers entering the store. “I am extremely excited,” said Stearne, a Natomas resident. “This is a fantastic experience. I’m in love with it.” Stearne previously worked as entertainment liaison for the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas. Assistant manager Donna George, a Marysville resident, has worked for Walmart for seven years. She was a zone manager at the Walmart in Marysville. “This is beyond words,” George said. “Our focus was on opening this store for the community. They welcomed us. Opening the doors is like opening the doors to our own home.” George’s husband and son, both named Dean, were there to support her and the new store. “We are really excited,” said George’s husband, who took a day off from his job in Davis. “I like the store. It is really bright and clean. She worked a lot of crazy hours.” The younger Dean came to support his mother before attending classes at Yuba College. Among the items in their shopping basket was guacamole hot sauce and Mediterranean feta orzo salad. Cheri Janke, a 12-year Lincoln resident, took a bite of her bagel with cream cheese while she and her sister, Debbie Goode, shopped. The two live four blocks from one another. The two, who say they “are practically joined at the hip even though they are three years apart in age,” plan to take plenty of trips to shop Walmart together. “This is great. Wonderful. So convenient. Very nice. Nicely stocked. I love it,” said Janke, whose cart contained raspberry iced tea, organic eggs, Frito Lay chips and Coffee Mate creamer. Her sister remarked on how bright and clean the store is. She said the Lincoln Walmart has different foods from other Walmarts. In her basket was microwave double-washed potatoes from Wada Farms, banana bread-flavored Activia breakfast yogurt, Great Value honey-roasted peanuts, a bag of three avocadoes and a 24-pack case of water. The sisters said they usually shop the Walmart in Roseville on Pleasant Grove Avenue. “It’s really nice not having to drive,” Goode said. “They (Lincoln) are going to get to know us. People are friendly. This is probably going to hurt Safeway and Raley’s. Their prices are so high.” Another 12-year Lincoln resident, Kim Lokey, said she always shops at Walmart, but “now I won’t have to drive so very far.” She usually shopped at the Roseville store on Pleasant Grove Avenue. “Living in Lincoln, you get used to driving everywhere but now it’s here,” said Lokey, who shopped with her children Michael, 13; Beth, 12; Abby, 11, and Sarah 9, all of whom are home-schooled. In addition to two boxes of Great Value shredded wheat and a bag of bananas, their cart contained free Sarah Lee individually-wrapped bagels and Sun Valley nut and chocolate chip bars handed out by an associate carrying a basketful of goodies. “This is cool,” Abby said. Four other Walmart Neighborhood Markets also opened in the region Wednesday, including a store in Granite Bay. Granite Bay’s opening day event began with a performance of the national anthem by the Granite Bay High School choir, according to the Granite Bay View. The Granite Bay post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars handled the presentation of the colors. Granite Bay View quoted Placer County CEO David Boesch, who called the new Walmart “a fabulous addition to the Granite Bay neighborhood.”