SAFFORD — The celebration started early at Safford’s Walmart Supercenter, as the remodeled store held a grand re-opening last Friday morning.

With new ways to shop, new items on the shelves and a new look to the store, there was plenty for customers to experience. For starters, there’s the 16-foot-high pickup tower, which can quickly fill online orders. Then there are the refurbished electronics and apparel departments, the former enhanced by interactive displays.

The store has also combined its sporting goods, automotive and paint departments into one counter, with employees cross-trained to handle customer needs in any of those three areas. And Walmart has added a “Tool World” to its hardware section, offering items in-store that previously could only be bought online.

Added amenities also include a greatly expanded liquor department, newly installed lighting and signage throughout the store and, for the first time at the store, fresh pet foods.

Walmart management and associates, along with remodeling team members, got together at 7:30 Friday morning to celebrate the finished work with a ribbon-cutting as well as cupcakes and other treats. There were patriotic touches, too: the pledge of allegiance, a VFW color guard presentation of colors and an accomplished rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by 13-year-old singer Zaylie Windsor.

“We started this August 13 and here it is the middle of November, getting ready for the holidays, and this thing is done,” said Walmart manager Brian Andrews. “We gave our community a great new product in our store. Pretty much everything in our store has been redone for our community, and I wanted to thank everybody for that.”

Before cutting the ribbon, Andrews thanked store associates (“They did a phenomenal job”), the remodeling crew, his management team, store vendors, the City of Safford and Graham County Chamber of Commerce for helping spread word of the renovation and, not least, Walmart’s customers. “I wanted to thank the customers for their patience this last 12 or 13 weeks; they were very patient during this, and I appreciate it.”

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