This store redefines what it means to be part of the community.
Walmart Store 24 in Jacksonville, Arkansas, holds a unique place in its community.
Curtis Smith, a stocking coach and the social media coordinator at Store 24, says the closest mall is about 20 miles away, making the store essential to local residents. “Anything we do here affects the community as a whole,” he says. “We want to be in the community, not just of the community.”
The store also has a special connection to Little Rock Air Force Base, which is located just down the road. Curtis says when military personnel can’t find something in the store on base, they naturally turn to Walmart.
Some folks stationed at the base end up retiring in town, extending their relationship with associates at Store 24. “They come in, they call you by your first name, they ask how you’re doing,” he says.
“They just appreciate it because we’re a community. Some of the military retirees refuse to go in any other line than the one with their favorite cashier. They don't mind waiting because they know that person's going to take care of them, they're going to catch up. They're more like family.”
That sense of community extends to the Walmart associates at Store 24. Employees in Jacksonville range in age from 17 to 74. One associate, Leticia Riggins (known as Ms. Letty) just celebrated her 45th anniversary with Walmart.
Curtis says associates with more experience help newer associates figure out how to thrive and do their jobs well. “They get to pick the brains of the associates who have been here 20 to 30 years, so now they're hitting the ground running and know exactly what it takes to make Walmart a career or what it takes to sign up for training.”
“This is a family environment,” he adds. “We have disagreements sometimes, but we know what the bigger picture is. We just come through for each other.”
Curtis himself joined Walmart six years ago after leaving the Army, where he was an intelligence analyst, learning four new languages and earning two degrees. He just moved to the Jacksonville store in October of 2020 and says it felt a little like a homecoming: He grew up in Jacksonville and shopped at Store 24 as a kid. Now, he says, there’s no place he’d rather be than working for Walmart.
As the store’s social media specialist, he takes special pride in sharing stories about associates. He celebrates great work, anniversaries and birthdays with posts on Facebook and Instagram. It’s all to help make associates feel appreciated and part of the Walmart family.
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