As part of its commitment to the city of Chicago after a turbulent year of unrest that led to the closing of area Supercenters, Walmart on Friday reopened two remodeled sites that include adjacent new Walmart Health centers.
“Since a wave of civil unrest shook the nation in June, we’ve been listening intently to the citizens of Chicago,” said Keith Wyche, vice president, community engagement & support at Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart, in a blog post Friday. “And we’re making changes we’re proud of, to reflect the nature of a community we want to do more than just exist in. These spaces stand as a renewed commitment to a city that has been through a lot this year — and has proven time and again that it can emerge from any challenge with renewed ambitions. It’s an attitude we’re trying to emulate.”
The two reopened sites are located in the Chicago neighborhoods of Chatham and Austin.
The two new Walmart Health centers are part of the company's commitment to Chicago to rebuild and reopen four supercenters with an expanded offering of services, including Walmart Academies for associate training and ongoing learning. The other supercenters to be reopened are located at 4626 W. Diversey Ave. and 10900 S. Doty Ave.
The remodels of these four locations include several department transformations that will help customers save time and money. The upgrades also complement the measures the company has taken in its U.S. stores to help protect associates and customers from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
““We can’t wait for Chicago customers to see our newly remodeled Supercenters,” said Walmart store manager Patrice Gibson from the Chatham Supercenter. “We’re continuously investing in new ways to make shopping easier, and we look forward to those in our communities being able to take advantage of what our stores now have to offer.”
The state-of-the-art Walmart Health locations provide affordable and accessible healthcare for members of the Chicago community so they can get the right care at the right time, right in their community. Walmart Health is partnering with local, on-the-ground health providers to deliver primary care, labs, X-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental and hearing services all in one facility at transparent pricing regardless of a patient’s insurance status.
“Walmart is committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible for customers in the communities we serve. We are excited to bring Walmart Health into Chicago and offer members of the community a holistic wellness approach by additionally offering specialized community health resources, online education and in-center workshops to educate the community about preventative health and wellness,” said Marcus Osborne, senior vice president of Walmart Health. “We think we can make an impactful difference and look forward to continuing to learn how best to deliver the integrated quality care customers want and deserve.”
In addition to the Walmart Health centers, the retailer is reaching out with renewed focus on community involvement and making store improvements based on feedback from the people in the neighborhoods.
When considering how best to remodel and reopen the Supercenters, Wyche said Walmart began by listening — and what it heard was an overwhelming desire for stores to more closely mirror their communities.
“We heard that we should seek out more Black store managers who could help understand the customer experience; we heard that we should stock more ethnic hair products, and not lock them behind glass; we heard that we should partner with Black-owned businesses locally and nationally, to bring in more items our customers are looking for,” said Wyche. “And so we did.”
As part of the project and community investments totaling more than $50 million, Walmart is working directly with local vendors and contractors during the remodels and with future routine maintenance work. The stores are also giving more than $80,000 to local organizations including My Block, My Hood, My City; Trinity United Church of Christ Child Care Centers; Global Outreach NFP; Excel Community Development Corp.; and Heirs of the Promise Ministry.
Among store improvements at the newly reopened Supercenters, Walmart has improved produce department layout to better reflect customer shopping patterns; introduced a new layout in Grocery and Housewares; enhanced self-checkout for customer convenience; updated apparel departments with new signage and fitting rooms; and expanded the adult beverages section with more variety for customers.
The upgrades also complement the measures the company has taken in its U.S. stores to help protect associates and customers from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including expanded pickup and delivery options as well as Walmart Pay contactless checkout.
“We hope to have opened models for a true community Walmart,” said Wyche. “Stores that show how partnerships can bridge the gaps between corporations and the communities they serve, to create retail spaces where learning and listening are valued, and where the goal is to live better — always.”