It’s a classic distribution center. Almost 140,000 square feet of space with floor-to-ceiling racks filled with merchandise.
It’s an airy atmosphere. There are lot of skylights. The electric lights are connected to sensors. Their intensity changes in relation to the sun.
There’s even a “click ‘n pull” ordering system. Orders placed via the Internet or fax by 5 p.m. are ready the following morning.
But the new Sam’s Club off Dave Lyle Boulevard is so much more, said club manager Bill House.
In addition to bulk sales there is a pharmacy and an optical center. Free health screenings are planned. Fewer than 8 percent of Sam’s Club members know about the pharmacy, said Chuck Manning, the club’s pharmacist. Sam’s Plus members qualify for additional pharmacy discounts, he said.
The pharmacy also will fill prescriptions for pet medicines, Manning said.
There is a cafe where you can grab a lunch for as little as $2, House said.
There is a row of 14 check-out lanes. The number of self-checkout lanes can be changed based on store volume.
There’s also a commitment to be part of the York County community. Volunteerism Always Pays is the Walmart, Sam’s Club program that encourages employees to invest time into their communities.
Sam’s Club, near the Rock Hill Galleria, has 175 employees, most of them part time.
So far the local staff has volunteered 170 hours with the Children’s Attention Home and 288 hours with the Red Cross, House said.
The store official opens Sept. 26. Workers are still setting up racks and stocking merchandise. Pallets of merchandise are being moved into place and workers are careful to make sure the front of the pallets align.
House, who has worked with Walmart and Sam’s Club for 21 years said the challenges in opening a new store have been minimal. “What we hear is everyone has been waiting for us to come,” he said.
The proximity of a Walmart super center across the road won’t be negative, he said. In most instances, the intended shopper and the “products we sell are not the same,” House said. That’s especially true, he said, when it comes to electronics and jewelry with some of the rings selling for $5,000 and $6,000.
At the basic level, Sam’s Club is still a wholesale operation, “but with a twist,” he said.
Sam’s Club’s primary focus will be small businesses. Businesses can buy their needs in bulk or in small lots, he said.
The “click ’n pull” ordering system is ideal for businesses, but can also be used by other members, House said. In some instances, businesses have placed orders filling six to seven pallets at one time, he said.
In addition to service-oriented sections there are the traditional racks of clothing, electronics and groceries. There also is a bakery, a meat counter that will cut some orders to customer needs and a rotisserie chicken section that will have “selection and prices that will be fantastic,” House said.
There also is auto service and a members-only gas station visible from Dave Lyle Boulevard. House said the visibility of the gas station should help bring more traffic to the store.
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066