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Howell Walmart revamp includes Balloonfest mural, ‘grab and go’ and more

Livingston Daily – GENOA TWP. — Howell Walmart Supercenter is one of the latest franchise locations to get a revamp, as the national retail giant strives to “elevate” its shopping experience, company officials say.

Dave Perkins, manager at Howell Walmart Supercenter, said his favorite new display at the remodeled store, shown Friday, April 14, 2023, features nursery room products. Jennifer Eberbach/Livingston Daily

While customers never stopped shopping at the store — 3850 E. Grand River Ave. — departments were reconfigured, and the company made a variety of building and technological improvements.

Howell store manager Dave Perkins said the biggest changes are in the apparel sections and home goods displays, which he said are meant to “elevate” and “highlight” certain brands and products.

Overall, the changes make the store more “sleek,” easier to navigate, and updated with technology, Perkins said.

“We call it the store of the future,” he said.

Walmart, long known for low prices and groceries, has recently shifted to promoting higher-profit margin products like clothing and home decor, and added brands and partnerships.

“The (transformations) are a part of Walmart’s Signature Experience, which seeks to inspire customers and elevate their in-store experience,” company officials wrote in a release.

Raelynn Rasegan, a team lead at Howell Walmart Supercenter, stands in a new “dollar shop” section Friday, April 14, 2023. Jennifer Eberbach/Livingston Daily

Perkins said revamping the store took about 14 months, during which the store stayed open. The company held a ribbon cutting celebration last week.

“We switched a lot around in this store. During the switch, we kept everything on the floor, and we didn’t have a sales drop,” he said.

Company officials say they made a long list of improvements, including expanded online pick-up and delivery services, new registers, and two “grab and go” areas with convenience items, as well as one “dollar shop” area with items priced around $1-$5.

Perkins said they’ve expanded room for online orders, and will soon get a delivery van.

“One of the big things is, since COVID, online shopping has grown. We increased the holding area for online customers,” he said. “Soon, we’re getting a van so we can take it right to their homes.”

He said the store is also gearing up for parking lot improvements.

Some other changes include:

  • An expanded self-check out
  • A remodeled vision center
  • An expanded alcohol section, including chilled wines and a larger section for craft beers
  • Updated fixtures throughout the store, including flooring and food coolers in the grocery department, and an updated deli department
  • New signage and TV monitors to find products, touchscreens and QR codes
  • A larger infant area with more shopping space
  • Modernized restrooms and a room for nursing mothers

Walmart commissioned Michigan artist Kurtis Edwards to create a mural of hot air balloons over downtown Howell — a reference to Michigan Challenge Balloonfest — inside the store entrance.

A mural inspired by Michigan Challenge Balloonfest created by artist Kurtis Edwards is installed at the entrance to Howell Walmart Supercenter. Jennifer Eberbach/Livingston Daily

Perkins said, as store manager, he selected local charities to support at the ribbon cutting. He presented four $1,000 grants to Julianna’s Wishes, The Well Church, Veterans Connected and Howell Public Schools.

Contact reporter Jennifer Eberbach at jeberbach@livingstondaily.com. 

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