Walmart is set to become the first tenant to open its doors at The Pavilion at Durbin Park when it celebrates its grand opening on Wednesday, November 7.
The big-box retailer will highlight its new location at 845 Durbin Pavilion Drive in St. Johns, FL, with a celebration set to feature vendor giveaways, food samples, and even a visit from Santa Claus.
As opening day quickly approaches, store manager Bobbi Jo Smith and her staff are working nonstop to ensure a perfect in-store experience from day one.
“I have to open perfect,” Smith says with a laugh.
Smith, a nine-year Walmart veteran, is excited to debut her new store. While some nearby residents have voiced concerns about the idea of a Walmart in their neighborhood, Smith believes that her store – and Durbin Park as a whole – is addressing a major need.
“Nobody [that lives in the area] has anywhere to shop,” Smith says. “They have to drive to St. Augustine or to Mandarin.”
It’s worth noting that Smith’s store is no average Walmart. Its 195,000-square-foot floor plan is among the chain’s largest Jacksonville-area locations, and its spacious, low-site-line layout makes it look even bigger than it really is. Its upscale exterior facade should blend perfectly with its future neighbors within Durbin Park.
The store is outfitted with the latest Walmart amenities, including free grocery pickup services and express pharmacy pickup. You’ll even be able to pick up a prescription and get your groceries loaded into your car simultaneously. Grocery delivery services will be offered to those within a certain radius.
The Durbin Park store offers an expanded produce section with extensive organic options, an expanded offering of grass-fed meats, extensive gluten-free options throughout the aisles, and expanded pet and infant sections. An auto care center allows shoppers to get their oil changed, tires fixed, or have various other services performed while they browse the store. A nursing room is available for new moms in the back of the store.
The pharmacy and vision center share one large space and can be accessed from a separate entrance.
The whole store is designed with energy efficiency in mind, utilizing 100% LED lighting.
The grand opening celebration kicks off at 7:30 AM on the 7th. It’ll feature vendor giveaways, food samples, and a performance from Creekside High School and Bartram Trail High School’s bands. Walmart will be giving out $10,000 in grants to Bartram Trail, Creekside, and St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office as part of the celebration. Santa will be there, and he’ll also return for two weekends in December.
After that, the store will be open 24 hours a day and will be the sole source of non-construction activity at Durbin Park for the time being.
Smith is optimistic that her store – and Durbin Park – will enact positive change throughout the First Coast.
“I’m thinking it’s probably going to alleviate some congestion on 295, alleviate some congestion in Mandarin,” she says. “It’ll be a win-win for everybody.”