Shoppers are welcoming the conversion of Batavia's Walmart store to a Supercenter.
They didn't wait for Wednesday's grand opening to cruise the grocery aisles; that began Saturday, when the temporary walls separating it from the rest of the store came down. Over the next few days, the produce, deli and meat sections opened up, although they were not fully stocked until Wednesday.
"I don't know why anybody would want to go anywhere else. You can get everything you want here," store manager Mike Morrison said.
The store opened in 2005 with 153,000 square feet. The addition, started in October, brings it to 193,000 square feet. In comparison, the Walmart Supercenter on Kirk Road in Aurora is about 220,000 square feet.
The store added four regular checkout lanes and four self-checkout lanes. It added 150 employees for the expansion, 60 percent of whom are full-time, Morrison said.
The store will have a celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, offering face painting, cupcake decorating and food samples. It also has a Facebook page.
Morrison said Walmart originally intended the store to be a Supercenter when it was built, but held off over concerns about whether there was enough traffic and access from Randall Road to merit the size. He said shoppers have been asking him during his five-year tenure when it would be a Supercenter. Those shoppers included Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke.
"He fussed at us from Day 1: 'When am I going to get my Supercenter?' " Morrison joked.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.