October 4, 2017 Edition

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Robyn Roby, who has been with Walmart in Walnut Ridge for 37 years, serves punch to Dr. Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement at Williams Baptist College. Walmart hosted a reception on Monday marking its 45-year anniversary.

Walmart marks 45
years in Walnut Ridge

Gretchen Hunt

The Walnut Ridge Walmart turns 45 this week, and there is an associate who has been at the store since the grand opening in 1972.

Pharmacy OTC Manager Sheila Ingram was there working at the grand opening in 1972.

"It was raining hard," she recalled. "People were trying to park, and they filled up the parking lot. Past that, cars parked on both sides of the highway. People were trying to get in!"

She took five years off to have a child and raise her to kindergarten but got right back to work after that. Asked what her favorite memory was about working at Walmart, Ingram quipped, "Being 21!" She has a total of 40 years of service.

Another longtime employee, Robyn Roby, started at the age of 16. She now has 37 years of service at the store.

Manager Kari Shanks said the store is blessed with good employees, including many who have a long history with the store.

In addition to Roby and Ingram, others who have 30 years or more experience are Cindi Blackburn, 32 years; Janette Smith and Chris Throesch, 31 years; and Rhonda Duckworth and Joann Belk, 30 years.

Shanks, who has been manager of the Walnut Ridge store since 2005, has 33 years experience with the company.

The store hosted a reception on Monday afternoon to mark the milestone. Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp and County Judge John Thomison both expressed their appreciation for the impact Walmart has on the city and county.

Lawrence County Chamber Director Lesa Walter shared a little of the history of Walmart in Walnut Ridge, including its grand opening in 1972 on Highway 67 and its relocation to Highway 412 in 1992.

"Today we celebrate 45 years of Walmart being in Walnut Ridge," Walter said. "We are happy to celebrate with them, and we appreciate all they do."

Walter presented a framed photo display and certificate of appreciation to Shanks on behalf of the Chamber, the city of Walnut Ridge and the downtown Walnut Ridge organization.

Shanks thanked those who attended the event and said Walmart looks forward to a bright future in Walnut Ridge.

"We want to grow," she said.

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