Walmart Fort Frances celebrates refresh inside and out

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Walmart Fort Frances is celebrating the relaunch of its cosmetic refresh with a firm eye on how it sets the store up for future success.

The celebration kicked off with an official ribbon cutting event on Friday, October 21, 2022, in order to welcome customers back to a freshly painted exterior, as well as several improvements that have been made to the interior of the store. Alongside the ribbon cutting, visitors to the store on Friday morning were also treated to a free cupcake. Walmart Fort Frances store manager Paolo Santos and assistant manager Bonnie Allan both shared that the refresh is the culmination of a few years of work that will help to keep the store innovating and improving in the future.

Allan noted that the improvements made across the store include the renovated parking lot and painted exterior and also an upgrade to the store’s CCTV system, renovated washrooms, removed old and broken floor tiles, updated counters in several different departments of the store and plenty of new, updated signage. Overall, the refresh process has taken the store just over a year to complete.

“After investing in and serving the community for 19 years, this refresh is well overdue,” Allan said.

“Walmart Canada and its associates look forward to continuing investing and serving the community of Fort Frances and surrounding areas.”

As the store manager, Santos said seeing the store get the refresh is encouraging because it shows that Walmart Canada is continuing to believe in the Fort Frances location.

“It feels incredible,” Santos said.

“It’s nice to see the company make an investment into the town, not just the paint or look of the store, but also the new innovations they put in throughout to help. You’ll see on some of our counters now have little cameras that digital scan in orders for us if we need it, so there are innovations that they are bringing in, and it’s only more of an investment as we proceed into the future.”

The new paint job also highlights the online pickup feature that has been added to Walmart, something Santos said the town has “really adapted to” in a good way, with online orders to the store increasing on a daily basis. The trend serves to highlight how accepted Walmart has become in its time in Fort Frances, and Santos said he believes that’s because people accept the store as another local entity.

“It means being a part of the community,” he said.

“That’s what it really means to me. Everybody here shops locally, they see other places as local business, but this is our Walmart, this is something we are proud of, this is something we’re dedicated towards building a better future. We’re moving forward with the rest of the company and we want to bring the town along for the journey.”

The refresh has been turning heads for some time now, so Santos said he’s excited for the public to finally be able to see the results of all that work, especially since the word of mouth surrounding things like the new paint job have been so positive.

“It’s nice to see how engaged the community is, how excited they get with the small aspects of ‘hey, the building’s been painted, what’s going on?’ and it just draws that much more attention,” he said.

“It’s nice to see them accept the change and love the change just like the associates do. there were a few speed bumps along the way, but I think overall the store turned out fantastic and it’s just really setting us up for perhaps where we could move within the future.”