Another piece of the redevelopment of Sunset Drive will soon be falling into place.
Waukesha's Meijer supercenter, a 192,000-sqaure foot store at Tenny Avenue and East Sunset Drive, which has been in development for almost three years, will open Aug. 2. The 2,500-square foot Meijer gas station on the property will officially open Thursday, July 7.
The store will be open 24 hours a day.
Meijer leadership and local officials will dedicate the store's first day of business with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and special sales and promotions marking the opening of the store will kick off Aug. 4, said Katharine Braunschweiger, an assistant account executive at Mueller Communications, Inc., a Milwaukee-based public relations firm.
'Right now, they're putting the finishing details on the interior and exterior,' Braunschweiger said. 'It's a long process.'
The food, clothing and home merchandising store is also in the process of hiring for a variety of jobs, and once complete the supercenter will be one of six in the state.
Long road to redevelopment
The store's opening may be a cause for celebration, but the project was not always fondly regarded by residents and city aldermen.
The process for Meijer to build on the site began in 2013 and was originally met with backlash from neighbors who said they did not want a big-box store encroaching on a residential area. As a result, several nearby residents filed a protest petition with the city.
However, Waukesha officials approved the project each step of the way.
First, the common council approved a land-use change for the property then rezoned the site to a 'Community Business Planned Unit Development.'
After details for a related road project on Sunset Drive were finalized, the project was brought back before the council in August 2014. City aldermen approved the final and architectural plans for the project in an 11-3 vote.
The Waukesha store is in the process of hiring for numerous jobs. Interested applicants can find the various job postings online at www.jobs.meijer.com/new-stores/jobs/search/5750954.
According to the postings, Meijer 'team members' receive a 10 percent discount at the store, health coverage options and a weekly paycheck.
Braunschweiger declined to provide the specific number of jobs created by the new store, but, according to the company's website, Meijer employs nearly 300 total full- and part-time workers at each new store.
As for the weekly paycheck, Braunschweiger said 'that's just the way Meijer does business.'
'They do pride themselves on taking care of their employees,' she added.
In-store health clinic
Another unique feature of the Waukesha supercenter will be the inclusion of an in-store medical clinic, said Meijer Health and Wellness Director Jacquelyn DeBruler.
Meijer partnered with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin health network this year to open in-store clinics at the Waukesha and Sussex Meijer stores.
Illnesses rarely present themselves at convenient times, DeBruler said in a news release, and these medical clinics provide a great solution for customers.
The clinics are staffed by the partnering healthcare provider or hospital systems' physicians or physician assistants, and offer a variety of clinical and acute care services.
According to the release, Meijer began establishing these types of partnerships several years ago, which resulted in four in-store medical clinics, seven hearing centers and 75 optical centers.
Last year, Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer, opened its first four supercenters in Wisconsin in Grafton, Kenosha, Wauwatosa and Oak Creek.
The Waukesha store is the second of two new Meijer stores opening in Wisconsin this year. A Meijer supercenter opened in Sussex earlier this summer. Stores are also being planned in Greenfield and Janesville.
According to the company's website, Meijer operates 228 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.