Wal-Mart opening commemorates 9/11
By Katie Jones, editor
The community rallied around Walmart’s grand opening in Mandan when the Mandan Marching Band and color guard kicked off the ribbon cutting ceremony early on Patriots Day, Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Across the country people were holding ceremonies of remembrance. To show a support Walmart store manager, Andrew Coppersmith, signed a Statement of Support during the grand opening to reaffirm Walmart’s commitment to military employees and their families.
“Today is Patriot Day. Today is the day that we recognize those that gave their lives on that fateful day on September 11th, 2001. The Governor has asked that everyone in North Dakota recognize what occurred on that morning,” said Maj. Gen. David A. Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota’s adjutant general. As Governor Dalrymple requested, Maj. Gen. Sprynczynatyk, held a moment of silence during the ceremony.
After paying their respects, Coppersmith began handing out a total $118,000 to the community on behalf of the Walmart Foundation. The Ruth Meirs Hospitality House was awarded a $50,000 grant towards the use of a new vehicle to meet those in need of transport meals. Also awarded was a $50,000 grant given to AID Inc. towards the use of a new vehicle that will assist with the collection of charitable donations.
In addition, several community organizations and charities received checks and donations on behalf of the Walmart Foundation. Some of the organizations include Abate of North Dakota, Bismarck Emergency Fund Pantry, Mandan Baseball Club, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sleepy Hollow Summer Theatre, Mandan Hockey Club and Heartland Child Nutrition, who all received $250 checks. Also donated were seven $500 checks were given to AID, Inc., Capital City Lions Club, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch Foundation, Dreams in Motion, Heartview Foundation, Abused Adult Resource Center, Marketplace for Kids and North Dakota Council on Abused Women’s Services. The Afterschool Place received a $750 check with St. Alexius Medical Center receiving $1000 as well as the Mandan Public Schools Foundation for Education. Three $2000 checks were given to the North Dakota National Guard Foundation, Farm Rescue and HIT, Inc.
The Mandan Mayor, Arlyn Van Beek, was present for the ribbon cutting ceremony as Coppersmith cut the ribbon and opened the doors to the 150,000 square-foot-building; a drove of people flooded the entrance. However, the Walmart employees were ready to give top-quality service. The new store employs around 250 full- and part-time associates with an approximate additional 50 job openings.
Mindy Hill from the Dickinson Walmart was there to help train new employees, and was excited to see the opening go so well. Hill loves working at Walmart because of the friendly atmosphere; great benefits and the employees rally around each other.
The average salary for a Wal-Mart employee in North Dakota is $14.23 an hour. That average includes long-term, higher-paid employees who have worked their way up in the company according to Coppersmith.
On a quick shopping trip for ammo and a few groceries, Karen Johnson, thought the store was very nice and loved seeing the freshly stocked produce. She also believes it’s easier to get through the aisles at the Mandan store in comparison to the North and South Walmart in Bismarck.
The Mandan Wal-Mart is projected to bring $400,000 in sales tax revenue to the city. However, the store will receive a two-year 100 percent property tax break from the city, worth about $403,000.
Throughout North Dakota Wal-Mart brought in $54.3 million in sales tax revenue in 2012, an additional $6.1 million in tax revenue, purchased $43 million in merchandise and services and donated $3 million to area charities and over $1 billion nationwide.
To welcome the community, the Mandan Walmart is hosting a “Big Family Welcome” on Saturday, Sept. 14 from noon to 3 p.m. This will give the public a chance to meet the store manager, Coopersmith, and indulge in face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples.