Walmart hosts ribbon cutting ceremony for recent renovations

On Friday, Rochelle’s Walmart held a ribbon cutting and “re-grand opening” event for its recent renovations to the store at 311 E. Illinois Route 38.

‘It's really to set us up for the future. A long future'

ROCHELLE — On Friday, Rochelle’s Walmart held a ribbon cutting and “re-grand opening” event for its recent renovations to the store at 311 E. Illinois Route 38.

Store improvements made in recent months include online grocery pickup moving to a more convenient location for increased daily order capacity, expansion in departments of groceries, health and beauty aids, over the counter pharmacy and sporting goods, doubling the number of self-checkout lanes, new grab and go deli/lunch items, new signage and fixtures, and new paint and polished concrete floors.

“The improvements will be a game changer for our customers,” Jim Haager, Walmart store manager, said. “The increased capacity of online grocery pickup is just one way we’re innovating to create a more convenient experience for our customers.”

The Friday event saw attendance from Walmart employees and representatives from the City of Rochelle, Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and the community. Haager thanked everyone that attended to celebrate the store’s transformation. 

The Walmart store manager said the project was one the biggest he’s been involved in other than when Walmart moved locations from its previous, smaller location in Rochelle. He thanked employees for their work during the recent renovation. 

“You all did a great job and stepped up and did a lot of things that you haven't done before,” Haager said. “You made this happen.”

Haager said there’s “very little” in the store that hasn’t moved and the goal of the renovations was to improve the shopping experience and set up the Walmart to serve customers far into the future.

“I think we've accomplished that,” Haager said. “We did our best to rearrange things to make it better. It's really to set us up for the future. A long future.”

Rochelle City Councilwoman Kate Shaw-Dickey attended the event on behalf of the city. 

“We're so excited to be here,” Shaw-Dickey said. “Usually when we're doing a ribbon cutting, it's for a new business. This is for a renovation and we're just as proud of this project as we are of any new business. Jim, you and your staff did a phenomenal job and thank you for your investment and to Walmart for reinvesting in our community.”

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tricia Herrera said the event was a celebration of more than just the recent renovations.

“We want to celebrate with you, not only for the renovation, but the added services and benefits to our citizens,” Herrera said. “I want to personally thank all of you for your hard work during the pandemic. Walmart was an anchor and this was what helped get our community through that. We want to celebrate that, too."

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