Walmart heads to the track

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, October 6, 2011

Edmund Watford, an assistant manager at the Walmart on North Main Street, gets ready to test drive the store’s mini racecar before it competes in the CHKD Mini Grand Prix in Hampton Saturday. The store has participated in the fundraiser for the past three years.

Employees are revving their engines at the downtown Walmart store.

For the third year, the store has a car racing in the CHKD Mini Grand Prix, which takes place Saturday at the Hampton Roads Convention Center at 10 a.m.

Store manager Amanda Powell said the store on North Main Street wanted to take advantage of another chance to raise funds for CHKD.

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“It’s an opportunity to continue to raise money for the hospital,” she said. “We are very committed to raising money (for CHKD).”

Earlier this year, the store showed its dedication to collecting for CHKD when employees participated in a nationwide fundraising effort for non-profit organizations.

Out of 4,512 Walmart and Sam’s Clubs stores that raised money for local organizations, the North Main Street store placed second in the nation for donations to the hospital.

With its participation in the grand prix, Powell said, the store should be number one for most money raised.

She said employees have raised about $85,000 for CHKD so far this year.

“What I’m most proud of is to see all these associates in the store to come together,” Powell said. “The key is it took everybody working together. At the end of the day, they are the ones who do it.”

To raise money for the hospital, the store has gotten six local businesses to sponsor the car, including Mike Duman Collision Center, Firehouse Subs, State Farm agent B.J. Willie, Suffolk Pest Control, Carts Unlimited and Grafik Trends.

Assistant managers Edmund Watford and John Bryant will take turns driving the car, and a group of store employees will work as a pit crew and sell concessions at the race.

Lisa Davenport, director of corporate relations and special events at CHKD, said the race started six years ago as a way for Walmart and the hospital to work together on an event.

All of the Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, along with Coke, Pepsi and Measurement Specialties, will have cars in the competition.

Davenport said the hospital hopes to raise $60,000 from this event.

Powell said her store is really excited for the big race.

“We always look forward to it,” she said.

Watford, one of the drivers, said the store is very competitive and hopes to win.

“Anything we get in, we get in to win,” he said.

The event is free and open to the public and lasts until about 3 p.m.

“It’s a fun event for anyone that is looking for something fun to do on Saturday,” Davenport said. “It’s a perfect event for a family to come out and enjoy.”

For more information on the event, visit