The Edmond Sun

September 28, 2013

Sam’s Club ready to serve Edmond

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Sam’s Club is set to open its doors to the Edmond community this Thursday at 8 a.m. with a grand opening ribbon cutting. Sam’s Club will open with the sale of goods and an economic boost to the local economy.

The new store will be open on the west side of Interstate 35, one-quarter mile north of 15th Street. The new 138,000-square-foot store is on 16-acres of property and is next door to a Walmart Supercenter and adjacent to the Fox Lake Plaza shopping district.

“We’ve worked really hard to make sure we’re in-tune not just with the community, but the state of Oklahoma,” said Jennifer O’Connor, Sam’s Club Edmond manager. “We’re having some exciting showcase events.”

Local landscape painter Becky Way will be demonstrating her skill as an artist on Thursday. Prints will be for sale as well as Way’s original artwork. Way will also be present at the two-hour “soft opening” of Sam’s Club on Wednesday night. The Wednesday event for Business Members is by invitation only.

Personal appearances will be made by OU football heroes Jason White, Billy Sims and Mark Clayton. Schwab Meat Company will be debuting a couple of new items during the grand opening.

“We want to make sure we’re representing not just the community, but Oklahoma,” O’Connor said. “We’re pretty excited about that.”

The total 2013 economic impact of Sam’s Club for the Edmond community could total $10.955 million, said Toni Weinmeister, associate director of the Edmond Economic Development Authority.

“Economic impact is the estimated increase in value of production or demand directly generated by Sam’s Club, as well as at other local businesses as a result of Sam’s Club,” Weinmeister said.

This total economic Impact includes jobs, payroll, output and tax revenues, Weinmeister said. Only 2013 impacts are included in the report. Additional impacts will be generated in future years, she said.

“We are looking to be right around at 200 associates,” O’Connor said of the store’s early October opening. “It’s exciting. We’ve become really involved with the community, and UCO has become a great partner with us. I have quite a few college students (hired).”

The associates of Sam’s Club set the store apart from others, O’Connor said. A successful business model offers value in merchandise and customer service.

“Value in service sets it apart from anybody else in the retail business,” she said. “We strive to give the best service possible.”

The goal of Sam’s Club is for Business Members to make up about 50 percent of the membership, O’Connor said. The corporation originated to serve small business.

“But along the way we have evolved,” O’Connor said. “It’s not just about the Business Member anymore, although that’s our focus. It’s about those wow and exciting items that we offer along the way. We have business members that we see two or three times a week. But they also have a separate section in their basket that they’re loading up for their personal use.”

Sam’s Club offers a gas station, electronics, bakery, cafe, a meat department, fresh home-meal solutions, organics and produce. Freshness sets Sam’s apart, O’Connor said.

“Our standards are so much better than the industry standards that you can’t even compare it,” she said.

Sam’s Club is the best company in the world to work for a living, said O’Connor, who began working as an Oklahoma City Sam’s Club cashier when she was 18 years old. She began to realize that opportunities were boundless at one of the biggest companies in the world.

“Nobody would ever had known that I’d run a huge, great building with 200 associates and 50,000 members,” said O’Connor, 36. “I am so fortunate to have this opportunity.”

Nick Carson, 22, said he values being the electronics team leader at Sam’s Club and working with a team of great people.

“It’s really exciting to ensure that what we’re doing is going to exceed expectations by being the best we can,” said Carson, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas.

Lola Williams is team leader who found her niche at Sam’s Club. Her position fits her well because she loves people, Williams said.

“I get to know them and their likes and dislikes,” Williams said. “I’m excited to get to know all of our members.”

Doors open on a regular basis for Sam’s Club Business Members and Plus Members at 7 a.m. Monday-Saturday. Every Day members come in at 10 a.m. and the store closes at 8:30 p.m. On Sundays, the club is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | 341-2121