Though assistant manager Al Hafner has only been at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Bruce B. Downs for two months, he’s been with Wal-Mart for 11 years.
Hafner recently moved to Florida from Spartanburg, S.C. He said he always wanted to retire in Florida, but after a June vacation in the Sunshine State, he thought, “Why not get down here ahead of time?”
The store where he works shares Bruce B. Downs with a second superstore — the New Tampa Super Target.
These two superstores attempt to give the customer what Hafner calls “one-stop shopping.” They incorporate grocery stores, complete with deli and bakery, into Target and Wal-Mart’s already multi-purpose stores.
One Super Target assistant manager said the Super Targets were likely built to keep up with competition. The New Tampa Super Target is currently the only Super Target in the Tampa market, the assistant manager said. Wal-Mart has 182 stores in Florida. Of those, 74 are Supercenters.
Wal-Mart Supercenters range from 109,000 to 230,000 square feet, according to Walmart.com,while Target.com reports that Target Superstores are 175,000 square feet.
Though the stores are meant for convenience, and though both Hafner and the Target assistant manager said the stores try to provide good customer service, Hafner said that’s more difficult than it sounds.
“(Because they have grown so much) no businesses take care of the customers like they used to,” Hafner said, “But we’re striving to.”
Striking similarities exist between the two stores. The main difference between the two stores may be the hours they are open. Super Target closes its doors at 11 p.m. while the Wal-Mart Supercenter remains open 24 hours.
Hafner works the third shift from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. He said working the late shift isn’t as bad as it might seem. He said his shift allows him plenty of time to go to the beach during the summer time. Shopping in the middle of the night has one main advantage, Hafner noted.
“It’s not as crowded as it is during the day,” he said.
He said he spends his Wal-Mart paychecks on his hobby — photography. Hafner said he likes taking pictures of scenery and sunsets. He also buys things for his collection of “everything Coca-Cola,” ranging from Coca-Cola Christmas ornaments to hand-painted plates from 1911.
Tim Royer, 21, is shelving irons at about 1 a.m. He says he likes working the third shift the best.
His wife Jo works a few aisles over, in the toy section.
“The toy department is a wreck every single night, especially during the holiday season,” Jo Royer said.
Jo Royer said she attended USF last year, intending to be an art major, but working the third shift at Wal-Mart and going to school weren’t compatible.
The New Tampa Super Target, however, contains a mini-Starbucks, and some of the Super Targets have a built-in Krispy Kreme Donut stores.
USF freshman Jim Breen, works as a cashier at Target. He said he likes his job there better than any other job he has had.
“It’s not the same thing every day,” Breen said.
He said he’s known around the store as Credit Jim because he helps people apply for Target Credit Cards. He has also used his job to his advantage. For his Christmas list, he put his name and wish list into Target’s baby gift registry.
Other businesses along Bruce B. Downs report little effects on their sales. An Eckerd Drug store manager said the superstores did not effect their sales. Kim Andrews, Common Area Manager for the Publix on Bruce B. Downs said that Wal-Mart hurt their business for a while.
“We felt it the week that they opened,” Andrews said.
Andrews noted, however, that with all the growth in the area, they’ve gained all their business back.
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