A Re-Grand Opening All About Celebrating Hawaiian Culture

Celebrating You

This lively Hilo event was filled with that ‘aloha’ spirit.

Group of diverse group of associates in front of the garden section of a Walmart store

At Store 2473 in Hilo, Hawaii, they go big for their community (read how they smash fundraising goals) and they know how to celebrate a historic occasion — including their own re-grand opening (RGO)!

On the day of the event in October 2023, the air was filled with the scent of flower leis exchanged between associates. The gesture, symbolizing unity, infused the store with a welcoming atmosphere — and a beautiful, natural perfume.

Walmart Radio’s DJ Kirby was one of the lucky folks in Hilo that day. “Many of them made personal contributions, such as using flowers from their own gardens for beautiful displays, and a lot of their talents were showcased at the associate talent show. This truly demonstrated the deep commitment and passion they have for their culture and team,” she shares.

male associate smiling at the camera

“It was a great celebration,” says Garnett Stone, a homeliness associate. “We were able to overcome a lot of different challenges and we had a successful grand re-opening.”

“It went very well. It’s one of the best remodels I’ve ever participated in,” James Takayesu, AP host and day-one associate, shares. “What I noticed is that a lot of the associates mentioned family, fellow associates as family, and loving what they do at Walmart.”

male associate with a group of customers

The way the associates showcased their own talents and incorporated aspects of their local culture — from hula dancing to singing and even a dragon (pictured above with Store Manager Mark Roberts) — made this a unique celebration. Those who attended knew they were part of something special.

So what exactly sets this store apart, you may wonder?

“It’s different because of the sense of aloha,” Garnett shares. “The sense of aloha comes from the tightknit community, the love of each other — because here in Hilo where the population is roughly 40,000, there are no strangers here. And here at Hilo Walmart we have at least 10 associates who are still here from when the store opened and you get that family feeling, the family vibes.”

“I felt like I was at a family reunion,” Kirby says.

female associate smiling at the camera in the garden area of Walmart

“The difference between working here in Hawaii and the mainland is the aloha,” Wendel Dait, front end coach and CMN champion says.

“Greeting everyone here, saying hello, goodbye and saying ‘mahalo.’ It’s the spirit. And the people, our community, so everybody — we got each other’s back. Here at Hilo Walmart, we work as a team, and all the management team and associates will be able to work together as a team for success.”

Male associate smiling at the camera in the garden area of Walmart

“The unique way of working at our store in Hawaii is we work as a team and also with our community. We are so close with our community,” Leonardo Reyes, cashier and a top fundraiser for the store’s Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) campaign, says. “This is my family and this is my job.”

“I love talking about our associates, our store. Actually, I went to the mainland to represent our store because of the CMN that we did so good,” Wendel exclaims with pride. “It’s all about our people. Our cashiers, the whole management team, the whole 2473 associates. I love this store. I love MY Walmart: 2473 Walmart, Hilo.”

Happy re-grand opening, Store 2473!

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