Amid a pandemic and social unrest after the George Floyd Murder, residents watched in horror as many of their local shopping centers were destroyed by looters. Walmart, located on Chatham on the city’s Southside, was one of them. Many wondered if the superstore would return to the neighborhood that served so many. Elderly residents wondered where they would go for prescriptions and groceries, and employees stressed whether they would have a job. Not only did Walmart return to the neighborhood with a completely remodeled store, but they also added a state of the art health center to serve the community.
“These last few months have been especially difficult for this great city, and it has done a remarkable job facing its challenges head-on, ” said Keith Wyche, Walmart Vice President, Community Engagement and Support. “We are proud to have the opportunity to reopen these stores and health clinics and further demonstrate Walmart’s commitment to serve as the store of the community.“
The new state of the art health facility will provide affordable and accessible healthcare for residents. This facility is a “one-stop-shop” providing primary care, labs, x-ray and diagnostics, counseling, dental, hearing, and optical services at one facility at transparent pricing regardless of a patient’s insurance status. Other locations include 4650 W. North Avenue (opening Friday), 4626 W. Diversey, and 10900 S. Doty, both scheduled to open later.
The facility will provide much needed medical and preventive care seven days a week. This is incredibly convenient for working parents who cannot take time off during the week for appointments, or elderly patients who can now obtain medical care and obtain prescriptions in one place, and for the uninsured or underinsured who require preventative care for themselves, their children and their families.
“Walmart is committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible for customers in the communities we serve. We are excited to bring Walmart Health to Chicago and offer members of the community a holistic wellness approach by additionally offering specialized community health resources, online education, and in-center workshops to educate the community about preventative health and wellness”. –Marcus Osborne, SVP Walmart Health.
The facility is equipped for educational services such as diabetes prevention, mental wellness workshops, and more with conference rooms, private patient screening rooms, state of the art medical equipment including a 3D printer that can make dental crowns in house, x-ray services, and more. What’s even nicer is the staff. Staffed with members who live and work in the community, the Walmart Health Center provides a safe and clean environment with staff to make patients feel comfortable.
Several improvements have been made to the Walmart store, including new layouts for a more seamless shopping experience, enhanced self-checkout services, updated apparel departments, and an expanded adult beverages section with more variety for customers. Walmart customers also have options such as delivery services, Walmart Pay (a touch-free option), and Express Delivery services. The Chatham location now has a section of its parking lot dedicated to online pickup.
Walmart has also taken necessary precautions to meet the challenges of COVID-19 by enacting deep-cleaning and sanitizing protocols, adding sneeze guards to wall checkout and pharmacy areas, installing signage to encourage social distancing, and offering a no contact curbside pickup service.
Walmart Store Manager Patrice Gibson said, “We cannot wait for Chicago customers to see our newly remodeled supercenters. We are continuously investing in new ways to make shopping easier, and we look forward to those in our communities being able to take advantage of what our stores now have to offer.” With the holidays around the corner, Gibson expressed joy at the opening and serving the community with their holiday shopping needs. A twelve-year veteran employee, Patrice Gibson, is just one of the many Walmart employees who work for the company and live in the community that Walmart serves.
In addition, Walmart is also giving more than $80,000 to local organizations, including My Block, My Hood, My City, Trinity United Church of Christ Child Care Centers, Excel Community Development Corporation, and more.
The Chatham Walmart Supercenter is scheduled to open Friday, November 20th. Visit their website at www.walmart.com for store hours and information.
Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.