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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Rollie Moore Drive dedicated in time for Wal-Mart grand opening

  • HARRISBURG -- The opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter Wednesday morning marks a moment of history for Harrisburg.



    City officials said it was appropriate the main road into the shopping area was named for Harrisburg historian Rollie Moore. Rollie Moore Drive officially opened Monday afternoon when Moore's widow, Ethel, closed the scissors over the symbolic red ribbon.


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  • The opening of the Wal-Mart Supercenter Wednesday morning marks a moment of history for Harrisburg.
    City officials said it was appropriate the main road into the shopping area was named for Harrisburg historian Rollie Moore. Rollie Moore Drive officially opened Monday afternoon when Moore's widow, Ethel, closed the scissors over the symbolic red ribbon.
    "By doing this Rollie Moore becomes a part of Harrisburg's history and Harrisburg's future," Mayor Valerie Rose Mitchell said.
    Moore's daughter Kathy Moore Farmer spoke of her father as a man who wanted to know everyone in town and asked many questions upon meeting a person the first time.
    "By the end of the conversation he knew where you were from, what high school you graduated from, who your family was," Farmer said.
    And Moore kept track of birthdays.
    "My birthday was yesterday and I turned 61. I miss him not calling me to wish me happy birthday," Assistant Secretary of Illinois Department of Transportation David Phelps said.
    Moore called people almost daily to sing them "Happy Birthday."
    When Harrisburg Street and Alley Department workers handed Ethel, Farmer and Moore's sister, Nell Perry, the sign naming the road Rollie Moore Drive, Ethel, resident of an apartment at Brookstone Estates, was hesitant to part with it.
    "I can't have that? I was going to put this up at Brookstone," she said.
    While the road dedication was happening outside, Wal-Mart employees were hard at work inside the building readying it for Wednesday's 7 a.m. grand opening ceremony.
    Store Manager Rhonda Bottoms explained the Supercenter is a unique one for the Wal-Mart corporation.
    "This is a prototype store. It's a new concept with Wal-Mart," Bottoms said.
    The store uses low energy LED lighting, sensor-activated faucets to regulate water usage, waste heat from the refrigeration system heats hot water for restrooms and the kitchen area and the store recycles materials. Loose plastic, hangers, aluminum cans and office paper are sandwiched into bales and taken to recycling centers. The photo department does not use liquid chemicals for photo processing.
    Wal-Mart incorporates green space in the form of landscaping. The building has a tri-color stucco exterior in shades of brown.
    Bottoms said the displays are low to the ground so that items are easy to view and remove from the high-capacity shelves. The low displays allow shoppers to see all the outer walls and the signs labeling the different departments.
    "You can see all the way to the rear of the building," Bottoms said.
    The building has come together quickly with Walton Construction working around the clock to make up for construction time lost during the March flood.
    "The construction had to battle the flood. They said it set them three months behind," Bottoms said.
    Page 2 of 3 - However, the opening is happening ahead of the orgininal Nov. 12 grand opening date.
    The building is 184,000 square feet, three times larger than the old Wal-Mart that closes 6 p.m. tonight. It adds 150 employees for a total of 340 employees.
    The aisles are wide and the check out lanes are designed for ease of customer flow, Bottoms said. The check out lanes are curved and the cash registers use touch-sensitive LCD screens, both experimental features for Wal-Mart.
    Customers will find a much expanded electronic and photo department. The photo department has six kiosks for printing digital photographs. The photo developing uses ink jet printers that print immediately.
    "In the old store it was a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes to wait after they put their order in before printing," Bottoms said.
    "This is just like a home computer. It's a lot faster."
    Customers may make prints of 11 inches by 14 inches and 16 inches by 30 inches in house, whereas before those poster-sized prints were shipped out. People can make customized calendars with their photos.
    The biggest difference from the old store is the grocery section with a full line bakery/deli. Produce displays are arranged to be easy to see and reach all the products.
    "It's easier to shop and easier to reach," Bottoms said.
    There is a large aisle devoted to beer and wine.
    Near the grocery is the pharmacy that features two drive-through lanes.
    "Customers don't have to come in if they are sick," Bottoms said.
    There is a large lawn and garden section that features a drive through area for loading mulch, soil and gravel.
    The Tire and Lube Express is much expanded.
    Customers can walk through the displays of tires and pick out exactly what they want.
    Bottoms pointed out a new section called the Celebration Center that stocks seasonal party supplies. She said the department supplies items for weddings including cakes, plateware of every color and items of the Martha Stewart line. Nearby is the scrapbooking department, much expanded over the popular section in the old store.
    "Scrapbooking is a huge category for us," Bottoms said.
    The store has a Subway restaurant, Wood Forest Bank, SmartStyle Family Hair Salon and an upcoming arcade.
    Bottoms is happy to have a Coinstar machine that takes coins and provides a voucher customers redeem with the cashier for cash.
    There is a Red Box DVD rental machine that accepts a debit card and drops a DVD for $1.
    "It's like a pop machine," Bottoms said.
    Tonight Wal-Mart is open for tour of city officials and Saline County Chamber of Commerce members.
    The grand opening Wednesday will last about half an hour with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, Wal-Mart associate Madeline Rodgers will perform the national anthem and the associate Rev. Ownly Williams will provide the invocation.
    Page 3 of 3 - Wal-Mart will give $21,950 in grants to the Anna Bixby Women's Center, Bridge Medical Clinic, CASA of Saline County, Harrisburg District Library, Harrisburg Police Department, Harvest Deliverance Center Food Pantry, Regional Superintendent of Schools, Saline County Senior Citizens Council and Saline County Sheriff's Department.
    Due to the expected crowd Bottoms said members of the store's asset protection team will be in the parking lot directing traffic throughout the day.
    n DeNeal receives e-mail at bdeneal@yourclearwave.com.
     

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