January 5, 2023
This Issues Topics:
2023 • Business Connections • Centralia • Chehalis • Community • January • Lewis County • partner • Walmart

The Chehalis Walmart has been serving our community for more than 27 years. It opened in 1995 as a Division 1 store and expanded to a SuperCenter in 2002. There have been many remodels over the years but the one Walmart is going through now has been the largest. The grocery area expanded by 304 square feet, and the general merchandise area (which includes paper, pet and chemical products) expanded by 8 feet. The remodel is ninety percent complete and expected to finish by January 13, with a Grand Opening celebration to take place shortly after.

The Chehalis Walmart is the largest in Washington state, with over 223,000 square feet; and the busiest Walmart west of the Mississippi River, employing 575 employees. With the volume this Walmart does, there is almost always a need for more staff. Currently Walmart is looking to hire between 50 and 75 additional employees.

Recently Walmart added eight new self checkout stations. Appearances may conclude that the regular checkouts have decreased in number, but they have remained the same. Store Manager Matt Alexander has been with the company 23 years, a Store Manager for more than six years and running the Chehalis Walmart for a year and a half. Alexander mentioned the need for more employees to oversee the self checkout stations. The misconception that self checkouts are eliminating jobs is incorrect, when in reality there is a need for more cashiers.

One of Alexander’s biggest challenges running such a busy and large store is making sure they are able to serve their customers all times of the day. The community that the Chehalis Walmart serves is vast and customers come and stock up on necessities, which many times creates challenges for customers looking for the same products later in the day. Alexander has created a mid-day stocking task force team to tackle the problem, but at the same time is sensitive to the fact that stocking does require sometimes being in the customer’s way.

Walmart has been a valuable community partner with the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce, donating thousands of dollars worth of products to an array of events the Chamber hosts over the years. Walmart gives back to the community in a multitude of other ways including local community grants which local non-profit organizations can apply for up to $5,000.

Walmart also hosts ‘Shop with a Cop’, which happened 4 times in 2022, partnering with The United Way, local law enforcement, and fire departments to help provide a positive experience for children with law enforcement, as well as those in need of financial assistance. The Chehalis Walmart is also involved in several local charity organizations, including The Forgotten Children Fund, Sharon Care Center, Salvation Army and Lewis County Gospel Mission; giving food, time and clothing to those less fortunate.

Giving back to the community, providing jobs and essential services, Walmart is so much more than a store, it’s a valuable partner in the community.