LAKEWOOD - Customers demanded it, and Wal-Mart listened; firearms will be returning to the Lakewood store.
According to Jim Cheeseman, store manager, Wal-Mart has carried firearms in the past, but the corporation discontinued this practice in many locations in 2005. He said, as a whole, the company took a look at firearms and took them out of stores around that point. However, due to customer demand, the Lakewood Wal-Mart will be bringing firearms back as part of its inventory.
"They looked at the demographics and ours is an area that is predominately one for hunting," he said. "It was something we recognized the need. Customers have requested it for a long time."
Wal-Mart will only be selling long guns, such as shotguns and rifles.
In addition to the firearms department, other changes will be made at the end of August. Besides cleaning the entire store, Wal-Mart will be given a paint job and new signage. The sporting goods department, in addition to the new firearm inventory, will be expanding their wares, and changes will be made to apparel. According to Cheeseman, the corporation keeps track of the wear and tear of each store and checks sales and the amount of time since the last face-lift to determine when to bring it back up to the standards the corporation wants. The last time the Lakewood Wal-Mart had a face-lift was in 2006 when it added groceries and became a supercenter.
"Wal-Mart recognizes the need that you can't just build a store and not maintain it," Cheeseman said. "You have to go back in and freshen it up from time to time, and bring in new types of items or categories that shoppers want."
Store hours will not be affected during remodeling, and Wal-Mart aims to keep construction in the background. There will be a soft grand opening on Oct. 10. During the face-lift, Wal-Mart will be hiring 40 temporary associates with the opportunity to work full-time. To apply, visit Wal-Mart's website at www.walmart.com and clicking "careers" at the bottom of the page and applying as a set-up associate.