Sam’s Club sets grand opening
Sam’s Club opens its doors in Cape Coral next week for the first time on Pine Island Road, so it’s only fitting that the retail giant offers the community something that is not available at any other Sam’s in the nation.
The fuel station’s 12 pumps opened on Tuesday, Jan. 6, for use by club members and the truly unique product available there is ethanol-free, 90 octane marine fuel.
“We are the club of the community,” said General Manager Craig Canup. “This is a big piece, recreational fuel for boaters, and boating is a big part of this community.”
Shoppers visiting Sam’s grand opening on Thursday can expect to have an experience far more significant than any regular shopping visit. Guests will be able to sample a variety of foods available for sale, demonstrations of electronics equipment and other merchandise as well as a number of activities planned by the staff.
A soft opening is planned for Wednesday with Sam’s distributing 14 grants to community-based charities at about 5 p.m.
“That’s part of our giving back to the communities we serve,” said Canup. “We award grants throughout the year.”
Canup handed over a $15,000 check to the Cape Coral Charter Schools at a City Council meeting a couple of months ago. Donations of various amounts will be distributed Wednesday to groups like the Wounded Warriors Anglers of America, Invest in America’s Vets Foundation, local Boy Scouts, Trafalgar Middle School, and Cultural Park Theatre, to name a few.
Sam’s Club observes normal business hours 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Groundbreaking on the 37-acre site took place last spring at the intersection of Hancock Bridge Parkway and Pine Island Road after the site and development plans were approved by the City Council. The club, consisting of 141,000 square feet of retail and office space, began the hiring process last September and opens its doors with a full complement nearly 200 employees.
“The nice thing is the majority of those 200 employees live right here in Cape Coral,” said Canup. “Some had sales experience, some were first-time jobs, some had no background in retail and those with specialties like meat cutters came to us with experience. They are a fun group to be around.”
The anticipation of the grand opening has been building for Canup and his employees for weeks.
“It has been a lot of fun, but I have no complaints,” said Canup. “We are on schedule and ready to go, ready to open.”
Staff members are being treated to an associates’ dinner this Sunday for special recognition during the learning and setup period as well as to be informed of the itinerary for the grand opening.
Besides the variety of taste testing and merchandise demonstrations during the grand opening, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player will be available for autographs and photos.
One final grand opening surprise lies in store for members visiting the club on Sunday, Jan. 25. Buffalo Bills rookie Sammy Watkins, a South Fort Myers High graduate, will make an appearance to meet and greet his fans.