“Step two was the cleanup.”
Dating to 2010, the store has been regarded as a supercenter, containing a full-service grocery store in addition to general merchandise.
Since 2021, Figueroa said, the store added 100 employees, making around 415 total.
The store sports a remodeled grocery department, a new paint job, new restrooms and a mother’s room.
Worcester police officers will work details, paid by the store, to assure the safety of customers, Figueroa said. One will patrol the store during the opening shift, and one during the closing shift, seven days a week.
The store also includes a prayer room, a nod to the fact that many of the store’s employees are Muslims.
“I’m a firm believer in ‘the broken windows theory,’ ” said Figueroa. “If you clean up all that stuff, the bad people stay away. But if you don’t, that’s where crime typically breeds.
“We’ve won our customers back. We’re getting families, I’m getting babies, I’m getting toddlers, I’m getting mothers shopping here now. Before, they would refuse to be here.”
During the event Friday, Figueroa handed $12,000 in grants to local charities and organizations, such as the local nonprofit animal welfare organization Second Chance Animal Services, which received $5,000.
Those on hand included Mayor Joseph M. Petty, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Timothy P. Murray, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Superintendent David Tuttle and Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
Tuttle received a $1,000 grant from Walmart for the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Association, which assists individuals, families and other charitable and educational institutions in the county.
“We cover all of Worcester County, but I can’t express how important the city of Worcester is to our entire county,” Tuttle said. “Walmart, this team and you (Figueroa) are such valuable members of this community.”
The Worcester location is one of 12 locations in the county.
The renovations in Worcester were among 117 similar projects across 30 states, which cost the retail giant about $500 million.
Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, where it was first established in 1962.