EAST MARLBOROUGH - Stew Morgan got a little choked up when he reflected on the last 14 months as a manager at Walmart near Kennett Square – particularly when he spoke about his wife of two years, Denise.

'She stood right by me,' he said last Wednesday morning, at the grand re-opening of the store after an extensive renovation project that added 23,000 square feet to the store. 'I thank her for that.'

Morgan, who took over as manager at the same time the renovations began, said he was glad to see the store become the 'one-stop' shopping location that the chain has come to represent.

Morgan said that the new sections account for 55 new positions at the store, bringing its total available compliment of employees up to around 250.

The new departments include a deli, bakery, fresh produce, meat and a broader selection of dairy and frozen foods.

Morgan, who has been with the Walmart corporation since 2003, said that the expanded market areas also means an expanded management staff, with numerous department heads being added to the roster.

The store also goes 24 hours as of Saturday, June 29, according to Morgan.

'We'll open our doors at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and then we'll stay open,' he said.

The expansion brings the store's complete retail space up to 158,000 square feet.

At last Wednesday's ceremony, East Marlborough Manager Richard Hicks commended the store on I what he called an attractive and sensitive transition for shoppers and for the community at large.

'Changes made to the traffic pattern (when) entering and exiting the complex, made in the interest of pedestrian and vehicular safety, combined with the changes in elevation, have made for an attractive addition to East Marlborough Township,' Hicks said.

He also lauded the new job and service opportunities the new expansion created, and he applauded the staff and the construction crews who worked on the project.

'We anticipate an ongoing good neighbor relationship with Walmart,' he said.

'We're a proud member of this community,' Morgan said.

As part of their re-grand opening, the store also donated $8,000 to numerous area community-based agencies, including the Kennett Area Senior Center, Longwood Fire Company, The Mushroom Festival, Chester County Historical Society, Kennett Area Parks and Recreation, Kennett Education Foundation, Unionville Elementary School, East Marlborough Township, Kennett Area Park Authority, Cradles to Crayons and Operation Homefront.

Walmart currently operates more than 10,800 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries, and conducts e-commerce websites in 10 countries, with fiscal year 2013 sales reported at approximately $466 billion.

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