The Sherwood Walmart opened shortly after Wednesday morning ceremonies

Photo Credit: GAZETTE PHOTO - Scot Gavic, store manager of the Sherwood Walmart Supercenter, leads Wednesday morning's opening ceremonies at the new store. Following a year of construction — and initial protests from some members of the community — the Sherwood Walmart opened to cheers from employees, an honor guard and a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning.

Employees and customers packed the store’s entrance for the official ceremonies that opened the 150,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter at the corner of Langer Farms Parkway and Tualatin-Sherwood Road.

In addition to countless store employees, the opening attracted members of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Police Department, business leaders and the community.

“This city is unbelievable and has been so welcoming to us,” Scot Gavic, store manager of the Sherwood store, told the assembled crowd. “I want this to be the best Walmart around.”

Photo Credit: GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - Joseph Battrick, a Sherwood Walmart store employee (flanked by a color guard from the Sherwood American Legion) sings the Star-Spangled Banner during opening ceremonies at the Sherwood Walmart store Wednesday. Grocery
During the ceremonies, Gavic distributed numerous $1,000 checks to local groups including Sherwood’s Helping Hands Food Pantry, the Sherwood High School Band, the Sherwood Police Department, St. Francis Catholic Church’s food pantry and the Marjorie Stewart Senior Center.

Throughout the morning, a steady stream of cars made its way through the Walmart parking lot. Those who didn’t walk into Walmart made a beeline to the only other open business in the Parkway Village at Sherwood at the moment — the new Starbucks coffee shop.

After the ribbon-cutting (where Gavic initially had a little difficulty in getting one of those oversized scissors to cooperate), the store manager said he was pleased with the smoothness of the days leading up to the store’s opening.

“It all came together really well,” said Gavic, who most recently spent 18 years overseeing the Woodburn Walmart Supercenter. “I was shocked at how well it came together.”

Gavic said an estimated 300 employees had been hired for the Sherwood store. Another 300 were hired for the Tigard location (a smaller store), which held similar grand-opening ceremonies at the same time on Wednesday.

Not that the road leading up to the opening of the Sherwood store was all sunshine and roses.

A little more than a year ago, residents jammed the Sherwood City Council chambers to protest the location of the new store in what some believe was the largest showing regarding a city issue in at least a decade. That objection appears to have spilled over into the upcoming council race with several of those who are running having taken the lead in previously making their dissatisfaction over the new Walmart known.

(While the majority of members of the Sherwood City Council attended the grand opening event, both Mayor Bill Middleton and Councilor Krisanna Clark were not there.)

Meanwhile, the announcement that Walmart was coming to town has changed parts other parts of the city’s political landscape as well including last year’s formation of a business ordinance committee convened to discuss such things as bans on overnight camping and limiting hours that businesses could be open. That committee had recommended that stores not be open 24 hours a day, instead asking that businesses be closed from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The new Walmart store adheres to that recommendation with a 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. set for its hours of operation.

In the end, the store’s opening came off without a hitch and there were no visible protests.

“The community has just been overwhelming,” said Gavic. “I haven’t seen any opposition of any kind.”

And Wednesday’s ceremonies were solely focused on the positive, and included a presentation by a color guard from the Sherwood American Legion and the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by Joseph Battrick, a Walmart employee. In addition, Walmart employees often raised the Walmart rallying cheer to welcome guests.

Ron Wagner, Walmart’s regional human resources manager, said he was pleased with the reception from the community as well, quoting from Walmart founder Sam Walton.

“Individuals don’t win,” Wagner said, “teams do.”

Photo Credit: GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - The parking lot of the new Sherwood Walmart was completely jammed all morning long and cars continued streaming through the lot all day Wednesday.

Photo Credit: GAZETTE PHOTO: RAY PITZ - And what grand opening would be complete without the Franz Bread mascot who gave a thumbs up as he entered the new Walmart store Wednesday.

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