New manager for Walmart
by Paige Rentz
A new face has taken the helm at the city’s largest retailer.

Sheri Nichols, a Saks native, has been named the new manager for the Jacksonville Walmart.

Nichols comes to Jacksonville from the Oxford location, where she worked for more than four years as a shift manager. Before that, she worked at the Walmart in Anniston as an assistant manager.

Next month will mark Nichols’ 11th year with the company, a career she began as a temporary associate for a store remodel in Oxford. “It was supposed to be a 60-day thing, and 11 years later I’m still here,” she said.

Nichols, 42, said the move to Jacksonville is a perfect fit for her, since she has school-aged children. “I’m very committed to staying local,” she said.

Nichols replaces Bobbie Smith, who is taking over a Walmart in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Smith, who has worked for the company for right at nine years, ran the Jacksonville store for about two years before leaving for the Panama City location.

“It’s a career opportunity,” she said, “a promotion to a higher-volume store.”

Before coming to Jacksonville, she worked at three stores in Baldwin County — Foley, Fairhope and Daphne.

It was a fast move for Smith, who worked her last day in Jacksonville on Dec. 28 and began in Panama City on Dec. 31.

She said she is getting acclimated to her new city but will miss the people and community she leaves in Jacksonville.

“The associates were awesome there,” she said. “They are truly amazing at what they do.”

Smith said last week she expected the company will choose a very community-oriented manager who will be heavily involved in Jacksonville, which she called a “very caring and hometown community.”

And although Nichols only worked her first official day in Jacksonville Monday and hasn’t begun to develop specific plans for her store’s involvement, she hopes to bring some of her community causes from Oxford.

In the past she’s participated in events such as Crayons for Kids and Toys for Tots, and for the past three years has served as the captain of an Oxford Relay for Life team, which has been one of the top-fundraising teams.

She has also organized groups of Walmart employees to volunteer at local schools, donating labor to complete projects that the school personnel don’t have the time or resources to, such as building two outdoor classrooms.

“I’m just very excited to be here in this location,” Nichols said. “The store has been very receptive. They’re a great group of people, and I’m excited to be in this community.”
© 2013