Rick Helton was recently selected as the new manager of the Walmart Supercenter in Gloucester.
Helton said he began heading the large store only days before the mid-April tornado that blasted portions of Gloucester, Mathews and Middlesex counties. The local store responded by donating approximately $38,000 in emergency supplies, including tarps, bottled water, food and more. Meanwhile, other Walmart stores in the region donated other supplies to aid the tornado relief efforts.
But after that rather unexpected welcome to the Middle Peninsula, Helton said he has been getting to meet many of the store’s customers and large staff. Also, he said that high gasoline prices have hurt Walmart and other stores, as customers have to figure in travel costs more in deciding where to shop.
"I love working with people," Helton said of his long career in retail. Most recently, he managed the Walmart store in Rocky Mount, Va., which has 150,000 square feet compared to Gloucester’s 220,000 square feet. Helton also is in charge of a larger staff here, where about 400 full- and part-time associates are employed.