Los Banos Walmart construction to wrap up next week

08/29/2014 4:25 PM

09/01/2014 12:16 AM

After a year of navigating around bulldozers and other heavy equipment, WalMart patrons in Los Banos will arrive at a construction-free store next week.

WalMart will officially open as a Supercenter Wednesday.

“We’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers, and after 20 years of serving the Los Banos community, we are pleased to be able to expand the store and offer customers a broader selection of products,” spokeswoman Delia Garcia said.

The big-box store, which has been in Los Banos since 1994, added 68,000 square-feet during the expansion and will now offer an expanded grocery section, fresh produce, a bakery and a full-service deli. The business is also employing 80 additional workers, bringing its total staff to 300.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, not only for the jobs, (but) now you don’t have to travel across town to get groceries if you live on that side of town,” said Bertha Faria, executive director of the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce.

Faria said she is also pleased WalMart has decided to include a fabric section, an offering the store discontinued years ago to the dismay of local quilters.

As part of its deal with the city, WalMart agreed to pay for various traffic improvements.

WalMart’s first traffic plan was to extend Stonecreek Boulevard on the land north from Prairie Springs Road near the store. The land, which was owned by Stonecreek Properties, was in foreclosure. WalMart could not obtain permission to build the street.

A revised arrangement was approved. It included a traffic signal at the intersection of Stonecreek Boulevard and Highway 152 as well as adding left turn lanes on Badger Flat Road.

WalMart also agreed to contribute to funding improvements at Pacheco Boulevard and West I Street and the Pacheco Boulevard and Mercey Springs Road intersection. Some of the current construction, including additional turning lanes, is connected to the WalMart project.

Through the years, WalMart has given thousands of dollars to local schools and charitable organizations. At Wednesday’s grand re-opening, WalMart plans to give $3,400 in grants to the Los Banos Chamber of Commerce, Cavalry Baptist Church, the Touchdown Club and Soroptimist International of Los Banos.

Store manager Valentino Alonzo said he is happy for the store’s customers.

“We’re excited to bring the grocery and fresh produce option to Los Banos,” he said.

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