Sam’s Club opens Cape Coral location
Outside, people lined up along the building to the end of the parking lot while The Mariner High School marching band and its JROTC prepared to perform at the grand opening.
Inside, workers made the last-minute finishing touches for the rush of customers expected at the 8:30 a.m. opening.
Sam’s Club, on 301 Pine Island Road, opened its newest location Thursday with a celebration that included local dignitaries and a reminder that Sam’s would be dedicated to the community.
Even before the doors opened Wednesday evening for a soft opening, Sam’s had donated $40,000 to local non-profits, including $15,000 to the Cape Coral Charter School Authority and $5,000 to the Wounded Warriors Anglers of America.
Raphael Anderson, a worker at Sam’s and local treasurer for Wounded Warriors Anglers of America, said it was the company’s encouragement for community involvement that made him want to work there.
“It’s unusual for us to get a gift like this because of the time of year. After Christmas it’s hard for companies to get the funds to hand out,” Anderson said.
The organization also had a boat on display that it is raffling off in May on the same day as the annual fishing tournament.
Club manager Craig Canup said it was an exciting day.
“It’s an opportunity to hire 170 local associates, and we’re happy to serve our community from a value standpoint,” Canup said. “We’re here for small business owners and for other customers. It’s one-stop shop for all your retail needs.”
The opening was attended by all the available council members, City Manager John Szerlag and County Commissioner Brian Hamman. Mayor Marni Sawicki was in Washington at a mayors’ conference and was unable to attend.
“I remember when they did the plaza across the street and they had this road across the street leading into the woods that went to nowhere,” Hamman said. “We wondered what would go there, and now it’s a reality. I’m impressed.”
Associates attended many area events to bring in new members. For those who were visiting, the tobacco section became a makeshift membership center to satisfy the need.
“We’ve been hearing great things from the community since September, so we’re really excited to be in town,” said John McAdoo, membership director.
Darlene Nahre, a club member, made sure she was first in line, arriving just before dawn. She said she was happy to not have to go over the bridge anymore.
“I’ve been waiting for this to get done. I live 10 minutes from here and I’m tired of going to Fort Myers,” Nahre said.
After the ceremonies and ribbon cutting, members were greeted inside by many of the applauding associates, turning the opening into a pep rally.
Some of those who came in weren’t members. Once they came in and saw the selection, many of them became members.
“They have some good deals in here and I think I’m going to join. The salmon is half the price of anywhere else,” said Christine Varner of Cape Coral. “The setup is beautiful and the customer service outstanding.”
Frank Garcia, of Lehigh, is a member, and he also liked what he saw.
“It’s a nice store, good prices. So far, so good. I like what I see,” Garcia said.