Wal-Mart Supercenter, Eugene's Largest Retailer, to Open Wednesday

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Byline: RETAIL NOTEBOOK By Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

Eugene is about to enter the "super" era.

The Wal-Mart store at 4550 W. 11th Ave. will become a Wal-Mart Supercenter next Wednesday, with the opening of a 76,000-square-foot expansion that will bring full grocery services to the location.

At a total of 225,000 square feet, the store will be Lane County's first Supercenter and largest retail outlet of any kind.

"The great thing about a Supercenter is that you can get your oil changed, pick up your fresh fruit and get a DVD, all in one stop," Eric Berger, Wal-Mart's West Coast spokesman, said Wednesday. "Our customers have come to appreciate that kind of convenience."

Workers at the store were busy Wednesday, assembling aisles and stocking shelves in the grocery area at the west side of the mammoth building.

The grocery's 16 aisles - which are in addition to bakery, deli, meat and produce areas around the perimeter of the department - remained separated from shoppers in the adjacent "ladies," "girls" and "infants" departments by a huge plastic tarp hung from the ceiling.

A greeter stationed at the grocery's front doors directed shoppers to the store's main, nonfood entrance to the east, while last-minute construction work continued.

According to Eugene's Planning and Development Department, the project still had not been signed off for its final electrical, mechanical or building inspections as of Wednesday.

However, Berger said work is on schedule to be completed for next week's grand opening.

He said the expanded store's inventory will be largely unchanged, beyond the addition of a "full grocery component."

"We're still going to offer the same 36 departments of general merchandise that we do in the existing store," he said. The store also will continue to be open 24 hours a day.

No information was available on the cost of the expansion, Berger said.

Wal-Mart purchased the West 11th property in 2001 for almost $6.4 million, and the land and improvements have a real market value of $15. …