World’s largest retailer opens its doors to North Tonawanda residents
As one of 11 different Walmart stores that opened Wednesday, Aug. 15 across the country, the North Tonawanda Walmart Super Center, located on the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Erie Avenue, opened its doors to the public after a busy two days of grand opening events.
Tuesday evening welcomed a handful of dignitaries and non-profit groups to a VIP opening, that highlighted nine different local organizations that were presented with checks from Walmart in the amounts of $1,000 to $2,000 each.
Store Manager Chris Lazarau, a North Tonawanda native, led the event by offering a heartfelt thank you to all of his employees who made the grand opening possible.
“If you think back to the ground breaking; to our possession date; and now to today’s celebration and where our store started from, our store employees have worked very hard over the last five and a half weeks putting all the merchandise on the shelves, getting things put away right, putting labels on everything and showing the value on everything. I just want to appreciate everything that all my associates have done and my management team has done in those six weeks,” said Lazarau.
Assemblyman John Ceretto offered a few kind words to residents and city officials who were on site, “What a great community. The people here are just so friendly” he said. “To all the elected officials in North Tonawanda, you did a great job.”
The task of finding the location, building the facility and getting the store ready to open has been quite a tedious task for those involved. After almost six years in the making, city officials are thrilled to see it happen.
“It seems like Walmart has been coming to North Tonawanda for years now. Obviously we have reached the point that it’s here, and the store looks fantastic,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt. “This store is the product and result of a lot of folks. Anyone who has been in North Tonawanda government in the past six to eight years has been involved in this store. This means a lot to the City of North Tonawanda from a tax base stand point and from a job stand point.”
Residents were welcomed back to Walmart bright and early Wednesday morning to the melody of the Salvation Army Band playing in the background for a ribbon cutting ceremony, which took place prior to opening the doors to the public.
North Tonawanda Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka, who became involved in this project in 2007, said a few words during the ceremony.
“This is a great day for North Tonawanda and the third ward of North Tonawanda. This project is a pure example of the persistence of the North Tonawanda community to see this through, along with the North Tonawanda government. I would be remise without mentioning Tammy Godyn. Just like Senator Maziarz said, she was one of the big activists for this store and a big leader in this community in piecing this together and keeping us updated during this long struggle to get this store here and open,” said Zadzilka.
He added a thank you to City Attorney Shawn Nickerson, who Zadzilka stated led the fight in making Walmart possible in North Tonawanda.
Ortt piggy backed on Zadzilka’s thank you to the city attorney and added how impressed and thankful he was for the great job DiMarco Construction did with getting the building up quickly and efficiently.
The following non-profit organizations received a check from Walmart:
•The Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns
•The Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo
•The Boy Scouts of America
•The Niagara County Action Program
•The North Tonawanda History Museum
•The North Tonawanda Food Pantry
•The Rescue Fire Company
•The Tonawanda Council of the Arts
•YWCA of The Tonawandas and The Niagara Frontier