Photos: Steve Marcotte / OsideNews
Oceanside CA- Oceanside’s fourth Walmart is set to open for business Wednesday morning, January 29 at 7:30. The store, located 1046 Mission Ave, is a ‘Walmart Neighborhood Market’.
The first thing you notice when you enter the store is it doesn’t “feel” like a Walmart. The color scheme is a shade of green complimented by combination of warm earth tones replacing the familiar, in your face blue of the larger Walmart stores. The market is arranged to take full advantage of the 31,000 square feet of the former Staples store and features a full service pharmacy.
The pharmacy, which still sports a light blue theme, is managed by Kha whose full name is Thieu-kha Hoang. Kha began his career as a cashier at a CVS, became a pharmacy technician and went to school to become a licensed pharmacist. ” I had three or four job offers before I graduated.” said Kha, ” I chose Walmart because of their commitment to innovation and accuracy in the pharmacy and their emphasis on customer care.” Walmart pharmacies use a computer system as well as several physical checks and double checks to ensure prescription accuracy. “Fast and accurate. Our goal is to have a 15-20 minute prescription turn-around.” Kha continued.
Customer service is a priority for Kha and the staff he has surrounded himself with at the new store. “We want to treat all of our customers as family, with respect.” said Kha, “We are a patient advocate, a liaison between patients and doctors helping resolve medication questions and educate the customers.” Continued Kha, “People tend to be afraid to ask questions about their medications. I’ll step around the counter, remove that barrier, sit down with them and address their questions and concerns.”
In front of the pharmacy are all the things you would expect to find at drug store from diabetic supplies and pain relievers to ‘at home’ drug tests and reading glasses. The store is set up so all the isles, for the pharmacy section, face the pharmacy counter. “People should know that if they have questions about the over the counter medications, we are here to help.” continued Kha “that’s what we are here for.”
This is Hoang’s first grand opening as a pharmacy manager. “I’m excited about this. The pharmacy is an integral part of the store and I’m getting great support from the store managers.” It may be small in size but we are a full service pharmacy.” Kha said. The pharmacy will be providing vaccinations and flu shots within a few weeks of the grand opening.
Walmart has several programs to help consumers save money on their prescriptions such as the 30 day supply for $30.00 and $4.00 generics. “Our medications are inexpensive because Walmart can get great contracts with suppliers”said Kha. “People can go on-line and look at list list to see if their medications are in one of the programs.”[Link]
Along with the pharmacy, Walmart Neighborhood Markets feature a wide variety of products, including fresh produce, meats and dairy products, frozen foods, dry goods and staples, deli foods, bakery items, canned and packaged goods, condiments and spices, pet supplies, household supplies. Along with the green color scheme, the new store in Oceanside is going green in other ways. Using energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy, water consumption and minimize waste. Internally illuminated exterior building signage will use light emitting diodes (LEDs). Highly efficient and low-flow toilets and faucets will reduce the water used in the restrooms. The store will also operate recycling programs and promote sustainable product purchases.
First opened in 1998, Walmart operates about 250 Neighborhood Markets across the country, including 24 in California. The stores are between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet in size, similar to a typical grocery store found in many communities.